Friday, April 9, 2010
I was yelling this week at whatever electronic device was spouting the ESPN-line that Tiger Woods winning the Masters was impossible (hmm...could they be passing a memo, perhaps, to build a storyline?) because of all the "distractions".
A golf-billionaire, one legendary for his focus, one that's already won multiple championships (at Augusta, no less) all while under a microscope, one whose personal turmoil has never, ever, been a distaction to his craft in the past...all the sudden is supposed to fold under the spotlight?
In a sport where there is no heckling, no trash talk, no contact with opposing players?? Wow. What a hero. And coming off losing his Accenture endorsement, geez, that really puts things in perspective.
I have no love, or antipathy, for Tiger. Like much of America, I've just followed his career out of awe and respect. Yes, I'm more inclined to watch the Sunday when he's in contention, but I've never been able to generate more than lukewarm emotion after his latest Major championship.
So, as someone who reveres Muhammad Ali, I do ralph at any ad-campaign built around Tiger Woods' five-month "struggle".
Even so, this one does take the cake. I defy you, try and watch this commerical and not be, well, creeped out. His dead father??? Does the man even have a soul? Is "Nike" his only surname?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I can't wait to get there to show people what I can really do. I love games like this and I can't wait to play in front of the Louisville fans.
I am just in awe right now and can't wait to actually play in a game like this. It's going to be exciting for me to see how I rank against the top kids in the country. I have a reputation in the Tri-State area for playing a lot bigger than I am. I don't like to lose.Though I haven't seen him play except for a few highlight videos, I'm loving this kid's attitude and am beginning to think we got a real steal. He averaged 29.6 points a game, after all, in a city recognized for the quality of its high school basketball, that's nothing to sneeze at.
On teaming up with Mr. Basketball Elisha Justice, Smith said, "I can't wait to see the best guard in Kentucky pair up with the best guard in New York City and see what happens".
Strong might not be able to turn Louisville around in a single season, but heIn other words, what we already knew: there is a lot to anticipate given the promise of our new head coach, but everything must be balanced with the realization at how hard a dive we took during the Steve Kragthorpe era. Meanwhile, the athletic department produced its own dry take on the now infamous first practice in which the Cards started proving to their head coach how they don't know how to tackle running backs. Also saw this gem, wonderful in its detail, from straightpinkie.com reviewing the first week of spring practice. And as he often does, Charlie Springer showcases the latest pics of the stadium expansion and of the downtown arena.
will at least try to change the culture around the program this spring. As part
of two national-title teams in the past four seasons, Strong has been around
more winning at the college level than anyone on this roster. It’s an attitude
he will have to instill in the team in the coming months.
Beyond my own first take, you can find additional reactions to the news that the coaching staff might move Darius Ashley to cornerback here and here. In answering a fan's question about the move, Brian Bennett acknowledged that Jeremy Wright is indeed performing well enough in spring practice to enable the move, but pointedly shot down the suggestion that Wright is the next Michael Bush.
Last and definitely not least, the Orlando Sentinel ran a cool piece last week detailing Charlie Strong's rise through the prism of his longtime friendship with Kentucky booster and Secretariat owner Seth Hancock, president of Clairborne Farm in Kentucky. Hancock is the guy to whom Tom Jurich first hinted, at a Panera Bread in Frankfort in early December, that he was going after Strong to take the reins of the Louisville football program. Great article.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
But there's more important things at play here than coaching war/pissing contests, like actually becoming a good basketball team. Elisha Justice, with his shooting stroke, his ball handles, and most importantly, his head for the game, he's staring at a huge opportunity to prove his worth for a team that struggled in all those areas last season.
Welcome aboard, Mr. Justice. You made the right choice.
Crawford blogged about the plans for expansion over the weekend. Even while committing a HUGE cardinal sin by using a Field of Dreams allusion in a negative context (that movie is sacrosanct and should only be used for good, Eric... Mr. Red, whose life philosophy originated from that movie, will likely erupt into another manic fury when he sees the transgression), Crawford made some important and salient points about the negative effects of expansion. To summarize his arguments: 1) it's bad for the players because it keeps them on the road for a full week, 2) the tournament is wildly popular now; if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and 3) it opens the door for future expansions.
All valid points... and I would add to the list that expanding the tourney will suck the drama out of the mid-major conference tournaments and will reduce the importance of bubble team's performances in the major conference tournaments. Most repugnant, it will place the ncaa's decision-making process completely into the hands of the networks, who are the ones spearheading this decision. Yeah yeah, maybe they control the process already and I am being naive. But do this, surrender this decision to ESPN and CBS, rather than concentrating on fixing football which is what the college sports world overwhelmingly desires, and you can remove even the pretense that universities, their alumni, and their fan bases have a say.
Expanding the tournament is a bad idea. The way it's set up now, it actually means something when you make the tournament. Expansion to just under a hundred teams will diminish its quality and prestige. For most teams, having your name called on Selection Sunday suddenly won't be as thrilling. Want to use a Field of Dreams quote the right way? Nothing sums up better the stark importance of playing well enough during the season to make the field of 64 -- or the consequences of failing to do so -- than one of Shoeless Joe's other (more underrated) lines: when Ray Costella argues that it should be him, rather than Terrence Mann, who gets to venture into the cornfields, Shoeless Joe replies, "but you weren't invited." Exactly.
Read Crawford's post here.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Thought that was pretty funny... kudos ladies.
Mr. Red here. For my money, the best part is hearing Cats fans talk about how difficult it is to watch the rest of the tournament because it's clear they are so much better than the teams still playing. Sometimes I wonder if they know how basketball works.
Potentially big news from Cards CJ beat writer CL Brown: Charlie Strong and the coaching staff are apparently so high on redshirt freshman running back Jeremy Wright that they have started lining up Darius Ashley at cornerback and are considering moving him there permanently. Cards fans will recall that Ashley -- who rushed for 164 yards against West Virginia last year -- offered last season one of the few glimmers of hope for our future; I recall in particular my colleague's description of his performance against Cincinnati. I don't know how good is Jeremy Wright, but his spring play thus far must be pretty damn impressive. I guess it also makes sense given that as a defensive coach, Charlie Strong logically wants the best athletes on the defensive side of the ball. Still... Ashley playing the corner? Call me uncertain for now. One thing is for sure: Darius, who infamously editorialized on facebook his thoughts on Kragthorpe's decision not to play him early last season, would probably get ample playing time at cornerback, perennially our most depleted position the past few years.
Monday, April 5, 2010
* In what's becoming an annual ritual, national sportwriters throw a festival to usher in March madness, but then try to separate themselves from the herd, and slowly turn on it as the tournament goes on. This year it was complaints about the lack of top-seed sizzle in the Final Four, and jabs about the level of play in the Butler-Michigan State grindfest.
Those that want the offensive expertise (or defensive lethargy) need to stick with the NBA. It is college bball, after all. As the tourney goes on, the knuckles get whiter, defenses step up, and scoring totals lessen. I watched Butler-Michigan State and saw two teams laying it all on the line, each possession a lifetime. I was enthralled.
* In football news, the Cards defense showed signs of a pulse, they held the offense in check after being steamrolled in the first scrimmage. The bad news is that it might tell us more about the offense's deficiencies as well. We should all take a step back and show some respect for the lingering damage a category 5 Hurricane Steve can have on a program. For now let's follow Coach Strong's advice, "We are pretty short on giving praise to guys".
* The lasting image from the Final Four has to be Bobby Huggins cradling a pained and hysterical De'Sean Butler, who may have jeapordized his NBA future with a devastating knee injury late in their losing effort against Duke. Even then, however, the kill-joys were circling. J.A. Adande twittered:
That Huggins-Butler scene would have been more touching if Huggs hadn't stopped to gripe at the refs first.Eric Crawford quickly followed with, "Agreed". First of all, barking at the refs is how coaches support their players, it's second nature to them. Plus, I think you can allow him a few seconds to let the trainers get out there to assess the injury. It's not like coaches are supposed to sprint onto the court like hysterical soccer moms. Once it became clear it was a career-jeopardizer, he was there in moments. I'm actually developing a soft spot for Huggins, and that scares the shit out of me. Kinda like my dog. Ha! I kill me.
* Screw it, let's go a little deeper into the Twilight Zone. The over-the-top Duke bashing needs to stop. There does seem to be some bizarro reverse-racism at play, and it's become sooo mainstream now that Duke can rightfully play the "us against the world" card. That's a powerful force, and as their utter dismantling of WVU shows, they're comfortable playing the villain.
* The latest chapters of As the Blue Turns have been thoroughly enjoyable. In this episode, freshman Daniel Orton makes an unexpected declaration for the NBA draft, UK fans go beserk until some idiots post ridiculously offensive comments on his Twitter and Facebook accounts, prompting him to reply to said fans, prompting the expected outcry from the rest of Big Blue Nation to the effect of, "Don't listen to them Daniel, we loooooove you, please come back, all teams have fans like that! What? They do!"
Come to think of it, I think I've seen this episode before.
* And finally, how do UK fans react to a disappointing tournament end, a mass exodus of players, staring at a team next year that, at best, will be talented and young, and at worst, overmatched and young? Well, you write more factually inaccurate articles spouting baseless opinions of course! Rather than get your own house in order, let's just repeat Calipari owns the state, Pitino can't recruit, Porcinis, etc. etc. Sheer repitition and wishful thinking makes things true, ya know.
I won't go through it line by line, I've already given it more treatment than it's worth, but I will say that the pendulum does seem to be swinging back to Louisville's favor with the stability provided with Pitino's extension, and what are those guys called, oh yea, returning players. If Marquis Teague commits to the Cardinals this week, all but guaranteeing the Cards the top recruiting class in 2011, I'll double down on these thoughts with a longer post.
Just what we need around here, longer posts.
Okay, fine, I'll criticize one line. First, BTI tries to make a point of pride by stating that UK is poaching on potential Louisville commit Elisha Justice. If Cal does indeed walk on water, one wonders why he would even bother recruiting other school's walk-ons, especially from a mid-major program like Louisville.
Second, the author says that with only "one call" from Cal, and now Justice is now "up in the air". That's just not the case. Elisha said he still feels that walking-on at Louisville is the best fit for him, and his coach has stated that the only way he would reconsider is if UK offers him a 4-year scholarship guarantee. And UK is supposed to be the one sitting in the power-chair here??? My head hurts. Look, I'm all for reciprocating hatred, but we can't have a proper rivalry without agreeing on some basic ground rules of logic. Much of this just doesn't even make sense.
- ► 2012 (383)
- ► 2011 (758)
- ▼ Apr 4 - Apr 11 (9)
- ► 2009 (614)
About the Bloggers
Mr. Red is also known as Timothy Johnstone. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
Mr. Black is also known as Christopher Cunningham. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.