recap

NFL Week 12-13 (Abridged)

Esteemed ladies and gentlemen who visit this blog, we have gotten very busy very quickly. As a result, you may have noticed we have not been quite as active as normal, and that is not good. However, it is a necessary evil of not being a professional writer, so while we will do the usual NFL rundown, do not expect a 7,000 word column this week or the next few weeks. However, we are going to try something a little different this week just to mix it up in lieu of quantity. I am going to give you my gut feeling on how each team will do the rest of the year. Not looking at schedules (unless I just know about a game already), just going with how each team feels.

Jets- Losing this week will not derail their season in the least. Probably the most complete team at this point and if the entire team were to play well on the same day, it would be scary.

Patriots- Title contenders and they still remind me of the Saints a little too much. Opportunistic but weak defense, elite passing game, underrated running game. I hope they fail, but they look promising.

Dolphins- Mediority in Miami reigns once again! The only gut feeling to have about the Dolphins is that they will continue to disappoint.

Bills- Surging and fun to watch, but they just don’t have enough. Ryan Fitzpatrick has played like a Top 10 NFL QB this year. Somehow.

Steelers- They have started to dismantle parts of that spread offense I lambaste them for, but I still get that feeling that they are going to come up short. They will play the Chargers in Wild Card Week, upset the red-hot Chargers, then turn around and lay an egg the next week.

Ravens- Legitimate contenders whose defense will let them down in the playoffs. Probably against the Patriots. I could definitely see the Pats getting revenge in Foxborough from last year.

Browns- They will keep fighting and keep being about 4 pieces away from really being legitimate until the end of the year. Colt McCoy is next in line to be the QB who is a game manager that the coaches try to turn into more and it doesn’t work. It has to happen. This is Cleveland.

Bengals- Nothing doing here. Marvin Lewis, pack your knives and go. Yes, I have a gut feeling he will be on Top Chef. Maybe even Desserts. Regardless, his team is a mushy corn souffle with a maple dressing that tastes like baby food which makes Tom Colicchio vomit on Carson Palmer’s head and Padma punch Terrell Owens in the face as he makes advances.  If given the option between that and going through this season again, I think Bengals fans would choose the Top Chef scenario.

Was this enough to trigger the Super Bowl Runner-Up Curse?

Colts- Disclaimer: I am a Colts pessimist. As a fan, I always fear the worst. I think the Colts miss the playoffs. I do not like Jacksonville’s chances. I do not like the Titans chances, but the Super Bowl Runner-Up curse is lurking in the background. The offensive line has been trash, the Colts need Joseph Addai more than anyone really knew, and even the receivers have the dropsies. They could come out and kill Dallas, but something about this scenario has me very worried.

Jaguars- AFC South Winner. I don’t know how, but it is going to happen. Jack Del Rio is destined for another 5 mediocre years at the helm, and this will be enough to get them there. That or they will go back to being mediocre. I don’t know for sure, but I have a funny feeling about them.

Titans- Done. Moss is done, the offense is done, and the defense seems pretty done too. If they can beat the Jags, I will revise my position, but they have some issues going forward. A lot of them.

Texans- Doner? Is that a word? No? It is now. It is pretty much beating a dead horse at this point, but THE TEXANS FIND WAYS TO LOSE GAMES!!!!! Sorry. At least I didn’t say it was beating a dead dog after Vick beat them. Oh. I basically did by phrasing that hypothetically? Oops.

Chiefs- They will lose to the Chargers in San Diego. I am sure of that. They still have a half-game lead though and it depends on if they can win their other games to get into the playoffs. I am sensing a negative on that. Just a gut feeling.

Chargers- Classic Chargers. Late season push, sexy Super Bowl pick going into playoffs, and huge disappointment exiting playoffs. Last time, I referred to the kid who shows up really late to parties, then tears them up (in the good way) for the night only to pee his pants and remind everyone why no one likes him. One of my stranger comparisons, admittedly, but let’s just say that the Raiders are the Chargers version of chugging a couple beers to fill up that (Sepp) Blatter. Yeah, it’s a stretch. Screw you, Qatar.

Raiders- QB controversy. Do we start the guy who has been mediocre his entire career, or the guy who is mediocre in relief of mediocre quarterbacks? Or do we admit that Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski aren’t really good enough to make a real playoff push? Not a gut feeling. Fact.

Broncos- Tebow cometh too soon. Kyle Orton hath played nobly, good sires. Olde English maketh things sound more complicated. Sorry, I just really have very little to say about the.

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Eagles- Title contenders but not going to make it. Defense has too many flaws and I do not trust this Desean Jackson-Andy Reid situation. Is it so hard to imagine Desean Jackson quitting on his team? I don’t think so.

Giants- Missing the playoffs. Guarantee it.

Redskins- I have a gut feeling that they will continue to baffle me and be inconsistent. Is it me or has Shanahan sort of built a reputation for inconsistency where once he was Mr. Consistent?

Cowboys- Will they keep overcoming their flaws? Will they keep playing to the level of their competition. No and Yes. But which wins out? Week to week with this team,

Bears- NFC North Champions. They don’t deserve it, but it isn’t that impossible to believe. They have got to watch out this week even though the Lions might start Drew Stanton. With the Patriots next week, this has Trap Game written all over it. I hope I am wrong on my gut feeling on this one.

Packers- No idea if they are making the playoffs, but they sure as hell deserve to. Definitely dangerous, but McCarthy might abruptly end any playoff run.

Vikings- They can reload rather than rebuild, but it remains to be seen if they have the balls to get rid of Favre, go with Tavaris and re-invent the dead parts of their team.

Lions- To quote Mark Schlereth “This isn’t a try hard league, it is a do good league”. Lions aren’t doing well. They need Simba Stafford (just throwing that out there as a mediocre, somewhat mocking nickname) to stay healthy and to keep building. Like the Browns, only about 4 pieces away from being really good.

Falcons- NFC #1 seed. Will not lose at home. Will lose Super Bowl. You cannot convince me otherwise.

Saints- I have them and the Packers making it, but it is entirely possible that their schedule drops them below the Bucs. Very precarious position for the Champs. They really need that running game back.

Buccaneers- Step 1: Beat the Falcons. Step 2: Stay in playoff race. Step 3: Let the playoff be a microcosm of the season. Sit back, be just in it for most of the game, and win it in the 4th quarter. I would be surprised but not shocked to see them edge the Saints or Packers.

Panthers- Entering the Bills Zone of a team that is dead and starts to find its rhythm, but still sucks enough to not win.

Secretly one of teh better helmets in the NFL, though I liked the yellow more thn gold.

Rams- NFC West Champs by holding off a furious push by the 49ers. Sam Bradford for ROY and it isn’t close.

49ers- Late push not enough to makeup for season of disappointment. Frank Gore’s injury doesn’t help either.

Seahawks- If not for Qwest Field, they would lose to the Panthers this week.

Cardinals- They will continue to be a laughing matter. Something about the heat down there makes for hilarious press conferences.

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2010 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore

The 2010 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore

2010 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore – 61 Laps

By: Nick Koglin

Even as it is Formula 1’s lone night race, this was by no means a sleeper. There was plenty of pre-race drama and a healthy dose during the race as well.

The Storyline

With 5 races remaining, Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber came into this race in the midst of a considerable performance plateau albeit still leading the championship due to consistency. The remainder of the championship contenders include teammate Sebastian Vettel, McLaren’s 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, and the fastest driver at the previous race in Italy and two-time World Champion, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. In fifth, last year’s champion and F1 pretty boy, Jenson Button of McLaren is trying to regain some of last years’ fortune.

As far as the Constructors Championship is concerned, the battle is between Red-Bull and McLaren with Ferrari lingering somewhere in the distance. The graphical breakdown of the pre-race standings looks like this:

Pos Driver Points Pos Constructor Points
1 Mark Webber 187 1 Red Bull-Renault 350
2 Lewis Hamilton 182 2 McLaren-Mercedes 347
3 Fernando Alonso 166 3 Ferrari 290
4 Jenson Button 165 4 Mercedes 158
5 Sebastian Vettel 163 5 Renault 127

Also, Singapore marks the return of Nick Heidfeld and Christian Klien to Formula One racing. Heidfeld replaces Pedro de la Rosa at BMW-Sauber and Klien jumps in the HRT chassis formerly occupied by Sakon Yamamoto.

Qualifying

Sebastian Vettel

All though Sebastian Vettel absolutely crushed the field in practice, it was Fernando Alonso who once again stole the pole. There was really nothing exceptional to note in qualifying aside from Rubens Barrichello taking his Williams-Cosworth to an exceptional 6th position. For an independent team, each race Williams has seemed to make considerable strides towards attacking the factory-backed teams.

The other notable event qualifying was the failure of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari. Several things to note here: One, Singapore has never been kind to Massa, as it likely cost him the 2008 World Championship, a result of the Crashgate Scandal involving Renault. Secondly, team orders and poor luck have resulted in a pretty difficult year for the Brazilian and on top of it all are the rumors of Massa getting replaced at the end of the year, so pressure for him is pretty high.

Massa would start from the back of the grid after replacing his engine for the 9th time this season. (If a driver chooses to replace more then 8 engines in a year, a 10-place grid penalty is instilled on said driver. However, Massa began the race from the back anyways.)

The Race

At the start, Alonso took the race straight to Vettel driving him towards the wall. From there, all bets were off as Vettel and Alonso took a dominant lead over Lewis Hamilton and the rest of the field. The start was unusually clean, but Singapore, as with many city circuits, is extremely tight and subsequently it makes passing quite difficult.  Needless to say, the safety car wound up its odometer a lot during this race, particularly in the opening stages.

The McLaren team, desperate to gain points in both championships, really looked off pace early on today. Boasting a revised aero package, one rooting for the British team would hope that the supposed increase in downforce would help out in the tight corners of Singapore. Unfortunately for McLaren, the aerodynamicists at Ferrari and Red Bull also brought out the big guns and it showed today.

In the opening laps, Webber pitted as part of a risky strategy. Meanwhile, Nick Heidfeld’s return to F1 was short exchanged blows with Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi eventually leading to a retirement. Timo Glock of crazy Richard Branson’s Virgin Racing team made a valiant effort to hold off the much faster Niko Hulkenburg, Adrian Sutil, and Felipe Massa but their far superior machinery eventually overran the garage project that is Timo Glock’s car.  (Think Monte Blanc vs. Crayola)

Lewis Hamilton

Random Notes mid-race:15 laps into the race it became clear that Jenson Button just did not possess the same outright speed that teammate Lewis Hamilton had this weekend.  On lap 21, Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi took the fight to 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher’s defunct Mercedes; for me the jury is still out regarding Grandpa Schumacher’s return to F1.

Around lap 30 the top ten cars came in for their scheduled pit stops. The biggest loser here was Lewis Hamilton whose McLaren just could not keep the desired pace prior to the pit stop and upon his pit exit, he dropped from 3rd to 8th.

Around this time, the wheels began to come off for the independent teams (literally) as they racked up a good majority of the race’s crashes. However, it was the crash between Webber and Hamilton that certainly became the most significant incidence of the race.

Hamilton escaped uninjured, but his championship position did not fare so well. Webber somehow took no damage miraculously and continued to make the best of his risky early pitstop. At this point, 37 laps in, the race was mostly all decided. In the closing stages, Renault’s Robert Kubica took on fresh tires and made a mad dash  from 12th to 7th. Elsewhere on the track, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel kept the final moments of the race tense with a fierce exchange of fastest laps.

In the end though, it was Alonso who secured the Grand Slam (win, pole, fastest lap, most laps led) and due to the retirement of Hamilton on lap 37, moved up considerably in the Championship standings. See table:

Pos Driver Points Pos Constructor Points
1 Mark Webber 202 1 Red Bull-Renault 383
2 Fernando Alonso 191 2 McLaren-Mercedes 359
3 Lewis Hamilton 182 3 Ferrari 316
4 Sebastian Vettel 181 4 Mercedes 168
5 Jenson Button 177 5 Renault 133

Fernando Alonso

Overall, Singapore was an excellent race, providing some enticing storylines, the Hamilton crash in particular.  Alonso’s win gave the Spaniard a big boost in the championship standings but it ain’t over yet. Massa’s excellent points finish also helped give Ferrari a boost in the Manufacturer’s Championship, though it is still Red Bull’s to lose. While Hamilton’s crash may have damned his chances of winning the Driver’s Title, with 4 races remaining, nothing is out of the picture. The next race is in Japan at Suzuka, so stay tuned…

Wall & Jennings Connect on a Nasty Alley-Oop

By: Ross Geiger

Wall will be flying high in D.C. this season

The best two point guards from the past two drafts collided this week in Los Angeles, California for the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event. They’re both former participants of the Elite 24 event, where 24 of the top high school prospects regardless of class take the hardwood.

Before the event’s actual game a handful of the NBA’s brightest talent took the stage against this year’s 2010 Elite 24 players among those young NBA players that joined John Wall and Brandon Jennings included DeMar DeRozen and 2010 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans.

One of the games best highlights was a 2-on-1 fastbreak which left Jahii Carson left helpless trying to guard both Jennings and Wall running the break. Jennings delivered quite the pass and Wall finished up nicely with a 1 handed monster jam. Check it out:

USA Basketball v Lithuania Recap

By Zach Silvernail

One day before the young and inexperienced USA team was set to face off against international powerhouse Spain, they geared up for what was sure to be an easy victory over Lithuania. Unfortunately, the US team proved to be exactly what we feared they were: young, inexperienced, and sorely lacking the ability to score in the paint.

Without most of these guys, new players will have to step up.

The red, white, and blue got off to a dismal start, shooting an atrocious 3-21 from the field, while committing six turnovers in only ten minutes. We looked shocked and overwhelmed by the physical play of Lithuania, and were often looking around for help from the referees after no-calls on drives to the basket. The poor first quarter was capped off by a wide open lay up blown by Rudy Gay, one of the few opportunities the US team had to get an easy bucket. At the conclusion of the first, Lithuania was in the lead 14-7.

The quality of play picked up a little bit in the second quarter, thanks in large part to a much needed spark provided by the bench, led by Russell Westbrook. By applying more ball pressure, and jumping the passing lanes, the US found themselves capitalizing on more turnovers, and creating more frequent fastbreak opportunities. But, Linas Kleiza, Lithuania’s one NBA player, carried his team through the second quarter, finishing the half with ten points. Despite playing better in the second, the US found themselves trailing by 1 at half, while still shooting only 10-34 from the field.

Despite his missed layup, the 84 Million Dollar Man did well.

At the beginning of the second half, we finally began to assert ourselves. Behind the leadership of Kevin Durant, the US team started to work more cohesively on the offensive side of the ball, and slowly began to build a little cushion. The surprising play of Eric Gordon and Russell Westbrook off the bench played an enormous role in propelling the otherwise sluggish US squad. Both guards were able to penetrate at will, as well as knock down the three. Heading into the fourth with an eight point lead, one could sense it was only a matter of time before the US pulled away.

And that is exactly what they did. The team started off the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run, essentially putting the game out of reach. As the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read 77-61 in favor of the USA, a score that wasn’t exactly indicative of how close the game was. Kevin Durant led the team with 15 points, although he shot poorly from the field and disappeared in many other aspects of the game. Rudy Gay played solid all the way through, finishing with 14 points, while Westbrook added 12, and Gordon added 9.

Probably the most worrisome of the many US struggles against Lithuania is that the Lithuanians appeared to be a team tailormade for the US to blow out. With little to no skill or experience at the guard position for Lithuania, it was assumed the the heavily guard loaded USA team would quickly take advantage of their opponent. Also, with no effective inside presence for Lithuania, the US should’ve been able to hide what is supposed to be our achilles heel: lack of size. But, their gritty guards and forwards continued to get in the lane, and converted on too many easy lay ups.

A Gasol without a neckbeard? Impossible. A Gasol that could give the US problems? Definitely.

These are two areas of particular concern heading into the game vs. Spain tomorrow. With great guard play in the extremely reliable and sure-handed Jose Calderon, as well as Ricky Rubio off the bench, it will be difficult to rattle and frustrate the two. Even more frightening is the fact that Spain actually has a true, low-post power in Marc Gasol. Gasol is much bigger than Tyson Chandler, and is very skilled around the basket. To beat the Spanish tomorrow, the US will have to get their veteran guards out of their comfort zone, and slow down the much bigger, more physical Spanish big men. Hopefully the US comes out more prepared than today, for such a performance will not produce the same result against Spain.

Top 10 Poster-ers

By: Zach Silvernial (OTC Contributor)

The OuttaTownClowns would like to welcome Zach Silvernail to the blog, we’re happy to announce he’s the newest edition to our growing blog. Zach will primarily focus on contributing to our NCAA Basketball and NBA content on the page. Along with his well-written work, Zach has a great knowledge and high level understanding of the game at both the collegiate and pro levels of play. But don’t take us from us, follow his work on our blog and you’ll see for yourself. Without further ado, I bring you Zach’s debut post on the OTC…Enjoy!

There is nothing more exciting, and often times amusing, than watching a guy get dunked on. With so many incredible athletes now in the NBA, it’s something that seems to happen almost every game. Nothing gets a crowd going, a bench going, and most importantly a player going like taking off full speed, going body to body, and putting his you-know-what in an opponent’s face. If you’re not too familiar with the term “getting postered”, ask Shawn Bradley to describe it to you. I’m almost positive that’s what his role was throughout his stint in the NBA. Or ask guys like Stromile SwiftJames White, or Gerald Green…who only got to the NBA because of their high flying ability. But, before you escape to YouTube, allow me to present the list:

The Kobe Bryant Mini-Fro Days....

10. Kobe Bryant
I know, I know. He’s getting older now, and does a lot less high flying than he did during his mini-fro days, but he is still one of the more explosive and acrobatic players in the league. Don’t think so? Dare you to tell him otherwise.

9. Derrick Rose
Talk about a FREAK athlete. Rose is one of the most, if not the most explosive two-foot jumpers in the NBA. He might not belong in the top 10 based on his quantity of posters, but certainly for his quality and capability. Goran, what were you thinking?

One of the best dunks in All-Star Weekend's history

8. Andre Iguodala
Following in the footsteps of former Wildcat high-flyer Richard Jefferson, “Iggy” comes in at number 8. With deceptively long arms, incredible athleticism, and an underrated array of dunks (as illustrated in his dunk contest appearances)…Andre had to make the list.

7. Russell Westbrook
This guy might be my favorite one on the list. He became known for his ability as a youngster at UCLA, and has continued to humble opponents in the NBA. One of the top five quickest and fastest players in the league, he is beyond dangerous in the open floor.

6. Rudy Gay
Now the ranking becomes a little bit more difficult. It’s hard to put Rudy as low as number 6, but he has about 84 million reasons to make himself feel better. Almost impossible to stop above the rim because of his length, and probably best known for his always fully extended, and picture perfect windmill.

"Mr. Tolliver, will you sign my poster?"

5. Amar’e Stoudemire
Amare is certainly one of the most ferocious and powerful dunkers on the list. He may not always have the most “spectacular” posters, but he seems to have about a million every year. His number of dunks might go down without “Stevie” to thread the needle this year, but he’ll still manage to embarrass a few opponents and their families. Somewhere Anthony Tolliver is tweeting: “SMH”.

4. Dwayne Wade
Alright, now it’s almost impossible. Having to put maybe my favorite player at 4 was not easy, but the top 3 are too good. “DW3” is as relentless as anyone when it comes to taking the ball to the rack, and epitomizes the clique: “attacking the rim with reckless abandon”. Just ask Anderson Varejao.

3. Josh Smith
“J-Smoov” needs no introduction. Only fitting that he would play for the Hawks. Probably the only guy capable of filling out all Top 10 plays on SportsCenter in one night. He’ll pin you at one end and then catch a lob on the other. Always fun to watch.

2. Dwight Howard
Superman comes in at number 2 strictly because it happens so often. Had the list been called Most Likely To Dunk on You…Dwight would probably be number 1. Not only one of the most incredible athletes currently in the NBA, but of all time.

Back When D-Wade Was "A Witness", No Wonder He Wanted To Unite

1. LeBron James
Are you surprised? Possesses every possible attribute of a good poster-er. Size, speed, strength, quickness, jumping ability. You name it, he’s got it. Well, except for a ring.

Well, that concludes my list. But, before I go, just want to give a shout-out to the All Underrated Poster Squad: Will Bynum, Ronnie Price, Von Wafer, Shannon Brown, Dahntay Jones, Chase Budinger, Rodney Carney, Trevor Ariza.

Follow Zach on Twitter: @love4thegame3


Play Like There’s No ToMORROW

By: Ross Geiger

Morrow's the best signing the Nets made all summer

Each NBA offseason, signings and minor trades happen that quite frankly go unacknowledged and rightfully so. This year was no different with many deals reached based solely on the decision to save money during tough times or to save up for future free agents. But one trade in particular that can be labeled as “minor” demands some note righty involves a team which struck out this summer.

The New Jersey Nets swapped a future second-round draft pick on July 13th and return received Anthony Morrow from the Golden State Warriors. Morrow, a former undrafted NBA prospect has quickly become one of the league’s bright young sharp shooters. A career 47% shooter from long range, Morrow has packed his bags taking his game to a Nets team that was begging for the services he offers nightly.

To top it all off, the departure of Courtney Lee is simple reflection Terrence Williams’s impressive summer improvements and of course the addition of Morrow into their rotation. While Williams is the front-runner for starting shooting guard spot on opening night, there very well could be a change of plans as early as within the first handful of games. As mentioned in a recent post, Williams is an ultimate sixth man off any bench in the league with his ability to play multiple positions. One important ability that Williams lacks is an outside spot-up shot.

Morrow is a volume, shot friendly shooter that stretches the opposing defenses as well as help star guard Devin Harris and even Williams tally up the assists. Nets fans will soon realize and strangely appreciate two things about Morrow brings to the table no matter the opponent. He’s never seen a shot he didn’t like and he plays at such a high level as if there virtually was no tomorrow.

The 24 year-old nicknamed “A-Mo” is a hungry player with a huge chip that continues to rest on his shoulder; even more so then ever after proving himself as a member of the Warriors and being flipped for something as small as future second rounder. The move to New Jersey can be seen as trade that benefits both worlds as both the Nets and Morrow have a land of opportunity to grow together.

Morrow must've majored in "Opportunity" at Georgia Tech

Attending Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Morrow has mastered the gift of opportunities. His first start with the Warriors went from a Don Nelson experiment to memorable night in the NBA World on July 25, 2008. Morrow torched the Los Angeles Clippers that night with a video game type box score, dropping 37 points connecting on an unbelievable 15-20 attempts. It’s impressive enough that Morrow set an NBA record putting up the most points ever scored in a game by an undrafted player in his rookie, but as the cherry on top he also grabbed 11 rebounds to go along with the 37 points.

From that point forward, there was no looking back for Morrow going onto to finish the 2008-2009 season as the first rookie and first Warrior ever to lead the league in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 86 of just 184 attempts.

Heading into next season, the Nets hope and expect much of the same from their newest acquisition. The expectations and production have changed in the matter of just one quick year in the league for Morrow. But one thing has yet to change, he’ll continue to do what he does best. Prove the doubters wrong shot after shot, opportunity after opportunity, and do so playing like there’s no tomorrow.

Morrow lives on in New Jersey next season

Scottie Reynolds: Rise Like a Phoenix

By: Ross Geiger

Eighteen and a half points per game, forty percent from long range, his team’s go-to player, his school’s second all-time leading scorer, the face of his school’s basketball program, he is Scottie Reynolds. The 6’2, 190 pound point guard had a spectacular college career at Villanova, now Reynolds continues his spectacular story.

It’s starts as birth born in Huntsville, Alabama where his teenage mother gave him up for adoption. Growing up in a warm household, Reynolds was brought up well, and his upbringing carried over to the basketball court. In the state of Virginia, Reynolds is widely regarded as one of the top scorers in basketball history. As a senior at Herndon High School in Herndon, Virginia, Reynolds averaged 28.4 points per outing, dropped 4.5 assists, and was a thief snagging an 4 steals nightly.

Entering his freshmen season with the Villanova Wildcats, it didn’t take Reynolds to long to adjust and went onto to be named the 2006-2007 Big East Rookie of the Year. As just a sophomore, Reynolds led the Wildcats in scoring totaling 15.9 points per game, helping make the push to a Sweet 16 berth. During his first year as an upperclassman, Reynolds took his team to even greater heights come time for the big dance. In the Elite Eight matchup against the Pittsburgh Panthers, Reynolds known for his clutch performances drilled a game-winning bucket with 0.5 seconds remaining, which led ‘Nova to the 2009 Final Four in Detroit. As a senior, Reynolds helped his team to a 25-8 overall record, but unfortunately made an early exit as the #2 seed in the tournament. The disappointing loss to St. Mary’s in the second round not only put his dreams of winning an NCAA Championship to rest, but also held him short of becoming the Villanova’s program all-time leading scorer. Reynolds was just 21 points shy of the feat trailing only former NBA guard Kerry Kittles. But make no mistake, Reynolds received the well-deserved recognition he deserved as a senior being named to the 2010 AP All-American 1st team becoming only the fourth player in school history to do so.

After one heck of a career at Villanova, Reynolds was set on entering the 2010 NBA Draft and that’s where his story becomes even more spectacular. Reynolds, an AP All-American, surprisingly went undrafted on draft night. But please, don’t begin to feel sorry for the talented youngster; if anything this is a blessing in disguise. Though Reynolds made many of his accomplishment look easy during his high school and college days, this next step will be a bit more challenging to overcome. He’s an undersized NBA guard who many scouts question whether he’s got the capabilities to be an NBA floor general.

Reynolds entered NBA Las Vegas Summer League camp with a chip on his shoulder, out to prove the critics wrong as a member of the Phoenix Suns. In just three games (due to injury) Reynolds had some highs and some lows, yet showed enough upside that the Suns immediately offered him a training camp invite. His summer league line: 10.3 ppg on 47% field goals, 44% behind the arc, and was a perfect 100% from the charity stripe, to go along with 4.7 assists per game. In each of his three summer league games, Reynolds built upon each performance and by the his third and final game against the D-League Select team he scored 16 points and added 3 assists in limited minutes.

Best Be Sure He's Keepin' His Head High

A variety of NBA teams have extended training camp invites to Reynolds and he’s yet to make his decision. But I’ll be willing to bet, Reynolds’s story as an undrafted NBA rookie hasn’t quite ended yet in the Valley of the Sun. If and when Reynolds accepts the Suns training camp spot, I expect Reynolds to continue to grow as an NBA professional and will rise like a Phoenix as one of the most underrated NBA rookies next season. He’s in a great situation as member of the Phoenix Suns, not only can he learn from one of the best point guards the game has ever seen in Steve Nash, but his offensive game can flourish in the Suns style of play.

With the departure of Taylor Griffin (waived) this past week, I fully expect to see Scottie Reynolds a Phoenix Sun next season. From what I’ve been hearing the Phoenix Suns are very high on him and at this point I see it nearly a no-brainer that he makes the final roster. He’d most likely spend much of the year traveling back and forth between D-League and call-ups, but with Nash’s aching back always in question, you never know when he may be called upon. But if his time comes and his number is called, Scottie Reynolds will be ready to step up to the challenge that awaits as he has all his life. Making transitions look easy is something Scottie Reynolds has done his entire life, so why shall it stop now?

After all, NBA teams allowing him to go undrafted only fuels his fire. If there is one kid, one story to watch this season it may in fact be Scottie Reynolds. If there is to be another Wesley Matthews type scenario be in store this season, look no further.

Ross Geiger’s NBA Mock Draft 3.0

1. Washington Wizards- John Wall, Kentucky

Oh how a year changes things.

2. Philadelphia 76ers- Evan Turner, Ohio State

3. New Jersey Nets- Wesley Johnson, Syracuse

4. Minnesota Timberwolves- Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech

5. Sacramento Kings- DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky

6. Golden State Warriors- Ekpe Udoh, Baylor

7. Detroit Pistons- Ed Davis, North Carolina

8. Los Angeles Clippers- Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest

9. Utah Jazz- Luke Babbit, Nevada

10. Indiana Pacers- Greg Monroe, Georgetown

11. New Orleans Hornets- Gordon Hayward, Butler

12. Memphis Grizzlies- Paul George, Fresno State

13. Toronto Raptors- Cole Aldrich, Kansas

14. Houston Rockets- Patrick Patterson, Kentucky

15. Milwaukee Bucks- Xavier Henry, Kansas

16. Minnesota Timberwolves- Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati

17. Chicago Bulls- Avery Bradley, Texas

18. Oklahoma City Thunder- Damian James, Texas

19. Boston Celtics- James Anderson, Oklahoma State

20. San Antonio Spurs- Craig Brackens, Iowa State

21. Oklahoma City Thunder- Kevin Seraphin, France

22. Portland Trail Blazers- Hassan Whiteside, Marshall

23. Minnesota Timberwolves- Larry Sanders, VCU

24. Atlanta Hawks- Solomon Alabi, Florida State

Kentucky is well represented in the 1st round.

25. Memphis Grizzlies- Daniel Orton, Kentucky

26. Oklahoma City Thunder- Elliot Williams, Memphis

27. New Jersey Nets- Jordan Crawford, Xavier

28. Memphis Grizzlies- Dominique Jones, South Florida

29. Orlando Magic- Devin Ebanks, West Virginia

30. Washington Wizards- Quincy Pondexter, Washington

31. New Jersey Nets- Keith “Tiny” Gallon, Oklahoma

32. Miami Heat- Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech

33. Sacramento Kings- Ryan Richards, England

34. Portland Trail Blazers- Stanley Robinson, UConn

35. Washington Wizards- Willie Warren, Oklahoma

36. Detroit Pistons- Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky

37. Milwaukee Bucks- Jarvis Varnado, Mississppi State

38. New York Knicks- Terrico White, Mississppi

39. New York Knicks- Trevor Booker, Clemson

40. Indiana Pacers- Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia

Butler was the heart of WVU, and he now goes to the city where Butler University plays ball. Coincidence??? Yes.

41. Miami Heat- Armon Johnson, Nevada

42. Miami Heat- Dexter Pittman, Texas

43. Los Angeles Lakers- Greivis Vasquez, Maryland

44. Milwaukee Bucks- Samardo Samuels, Louisville

45. Minnesota Timberwolves- Nemanja Bjelica, Serbia

46. Phoenix Suns- Thomas Heurtel- France

47. Milwaukee Bucks- Dwyane Collins, Miami

48. Miami Heat- Tibor Pleiss, Germany

Radford is also represented...

49. San Antonio Spurs- Art Parakhouski, Radford

50. Dallas Mavericks- Latavious Williams, USA (D-League)

51. Oklahoma City Thunder- Derrick Caracter, UTEP

52. Boston Celtics- Manny Harris, Michigan

53. Atlanta Hawks- Sylven Landesberg, Virginia

54. Los Angeles Clippers- Sherron Collins, Kansas

55. Utah Jazz- Jon Scheyer, Duke

56. Minnesota Timberwolves- Artem Zabelin, Russia

Looks like Kahn is going to steal Zabelin from Prokorhov

57. Indiana Pacers- Ben Uzoh, Tulsa

58. Los Angeles Lakers- Alexey Shved, Russia

59. Orlando Magic- Mikhail Torrance, Alabama

60. Phoenix Suns- Lazar Hayward, Marquette

Hey, Phoenix! DRAFT ME!!!!!!!!

Lakers vs. Celtics – NBA Finals Game 5

By: James Sargent

Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics – 8 ET ABC

Game 4 was a gritty performance by Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Nate Robinson.  Doc Rivers left the bench in a little longer than he normally does in the fourth quarter against the Laker’s starters and the move was ingenious.  Davis and Robinson were unconscious and could not be stopped, and this was a good kind of unconsciousness for Davis.  If the Celtics want to head to LA with a 3-2 lead, the bench is going to need to step it up again and provide another spark.  This will be a very tough task to ask for because with each new game comes new counter strategies and ways to stop previous occurrences.  The Celtics will definitely need two of the “Big Three” and Rajon Rondo to have a steady game.

Shrek and Donkey could be the reason for another Laker meltdown

As for the Lakers, Kobe was shutdown in the fourth quarter and Andrew Bynum was hit with another knee injury, limiting him to only 12 minutes of play.  Bryant was pestered by many different Celtic defenders who held him to only two field goals in that pivotal fourth quarter.  Kobe said he felt miserable after the game and Phil Jackson said Kobe was very tired.  Could Bryant be going back into the funk he was in at the end of the season?  I don’t think so.  I believe with the two days off, Bryant will be rejuvenated and ready to bring his “A” game like he usually brings.

Pau Gasol will bring his usual intensity to the court and continue to reek havoc on the Celtic’s frontcourt.

Rajon Rondo will record an “almost” triple-double by scoring in double figures and having double digit assits, but he will only reach about 5-7 rebounds.

Now, I asked my dad to get his thoughts on the game, and I am going to stick with what he had to say.  Celtics need a must win since winning two in LA is very unlikely.  Also, Ray Allen is going to hit some three pointers and get back to his shooting ways.

Celtics- 97 Lakers- 94

USA-England Recap

A 1-1 draw is a very good result for the US. They played 80 minutes of high quality football (excluding the first 10 minutes), were able to fight back and get a little bit of luck to get a big point from England. I was right on two of my predictions, but was surprisingly incorrect on another. I was right about Steven Gerrard being a complete pain for the US and he was a terror on the ball all night for the US. I was also right about Clint Dempsey claiming the US goal, though plenty of credit goes to Rob Green for an early Christmas present. However, the prediction apart from the core that was surprisingly incorrect was about Wayne Rooney. The US defense did a tremendous job after the opening goal, pestering both Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey in the middle, and Aaron Lennon on the outside. The US defense earned them that point, and while Jozy Altidore nearly gave the US a big victory, a draw is about the right result.

Let’s talk about some of the more minute details of the match with some word association.

Selecting Emile Heskey at forward was ________.

STUPEFYING. I have no clue why England went with Heskey other than Rooney being a big fan of his. If you watched the game, you saw England swinging cross after cross into the box and no one being able to really get to them. That is what Peter Crouch was born to do but he did not get in until a late substitution. Martin O’Neill, Heskey’s manager at Aston Villa, did not play Heskey the final 8 or 9 games for a reason. That reason is because he is not good. Very odd choice Capello.

Rob Green’s goal was __________.

And the US sings: GOD SAVE ROB GREEN!

HILARIOUS. Everyone in England knows that keeper is not their strong suit, but few thought it would only take one half of soccer to realize just how insecure they are at keeper. That was one of the softest goals I have seen in a while, and as a US fan, it was gut-bustingly funny. It was really a gift to the US, and we cordially thank him for it. You know “God Save the Queen”? I bet you no one in England is singing “God Save Rob Green” right about now.

The Man of the Match for the US was ___________.

A TIE BETWEEN TIME HOWARD AND STEVE CHERUNDOLO. Howard really saved that game for the US, but that is hardly a new thing for the United States fans. He was every bit of outstanding he needed to be and really deserves the award. However, I want to give a lot of credit to Steve Cherundolo. Plenty of credit goes to Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit and Oguchi Onyewu as well for their superb defense on Rooney, Heskey, Gerrard, etc. but Cherundolo was outstanding. He not only did a great job defending Aaron Lennon, but he made England’s wingers defend when he would charge up the wing. I saw him lose the ball very few times, and force England into plenty of mistakes and fouls as he attacked. That was supposed to be reversed as England’s wing was expected to give the US problems, but it was really the opposite and a lot of credit goes to Cherundolo.

Robbie Findley was ___________ up front.

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR. We thought we lost a lot of pace when we lost Charlie Davies, and we did, but we replaced a lot of it with Findley. In the second half especially, he tormented Jamie Carragher and the English defense, and really made things exciting. Between Findley and Altidore, it actually seemed like the US had a chance at goals on most of their runs. That is something that cannot be said of the US most days, AND it meant fewer boring long balls since they were working the ball so well.

Landon Donovan was _________.

SOLID. He did not get on the scoresheet, but every ball he delivered was crisp, on target and nearly resulted in goals on many of his crosses. He was clearly targeted by England, and Ashley Cole did a good job, but Donovan was still able to contribute to the team even without scoring. The sign of a good player is when he can still help his team even when the other team has done everything they can to take him away as a threat.

A draw for the US is a __________ thing.

REASSURING. I had the US losing this game and facing an uphill battle to qualify against Slovenia and Algeria. This point steadies them a little with wins more than possible in their final two games, which would even give them a shot at qualifying first in the group, though they would need some help for that. More than anything, it reassures the players that they belong at the highest levels, which is a big confidence boost, and it reassures the fans that their team is going to do all it can to get results.