Archive for February, 2012

Leonard Pitts: Pulitzer Prize Winner Visits Linfield

Leonard Pitts won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2004, and my school was lucky enough to have him present a lecture yesterday, Feb. 23, 2012. Pitts’ most famous article was written the day after 9/11, and was a worldwide phenomenon, showing the scope of his influence and the obvious talent that he possesses to move an audience. I have created a story on Storify (my story is linked below) to encapsulate what I learned because of the lecture, by reading a few of his articles as well as his visit to my Media Writing class. I hope you enjoy, and I will be blogging about sports again at some point this weekend!

Leonard Pitts Story

 

Tyler’s College Bball Thoughts: Which under-appreciated U.S. state had a nice week in College Basketball?

Team and Player of the Week: The Great State of New Mexico has its day

My grandma and grandpa have taught history at the University of New Mexico for over 80 years combined. Not surprisingly, I love history with a passion, and I will probably end up majoring in history. It’s in my blood. This allegiance to New Mexico has also given me great interest in Lobo basketball every single year, and the Lobos have been introducing themselves to the world over the past few weeks.

The UNM basketball team has won their last seven games, including back-to-back drubbings of San Diego State and UNLV (Two teams that are very good, despite their recent struggles on the road), the two leaders of the conference. Well, I should say former leaders, because New Mexico now sits at the top of the standings with a two game cushion. UNM has some of the most passionate fans in the country, and for those of you that did not know New Mexico was even a state (Seriously, you would be surprised how many people there are that could be flabbergasted by this fact. America, No. 1!), let me introduce you to one of my players of the weekend from this surging squad.

Drew Gordon is an easy  choice for player of the weekend because of this run UNM has embarked upon. Not to mention the fact that he dropped a 27 point, 2o rebound performance against UNLV . That is pretty good I guess, especially considering that the Rebels are Number 26 in the country in rebounding and a respectable number 47 in Adjusted Defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com. The Lobos are not just a one man show though. They returned everybody from last year except for Point Guard Dairese Gary, and with Hugh Greenwood growing into his role as the new Point Guard, the offense is clicking to go along with one of the best defenses in the country. My grandparents, myself and the rest of the country will be watching Gordon and the Lobos with great interest.

Why Does UConn suck (Pardon my French, but it is a serious question)?

Jeremy Lamb is my second player of the weekend because of his 32 point explosion yesterday to save the Huskies from another crushing blow to their already suspect resume. Sure, the Huskies have the toughest schedule in the country (Seriously, they are Number one in SOS), but the Big East is down this year and they have more raw talent than anybody in the league aside from Syracuse.

But if it were not for Lamb’s 32 point showing, UConn would have been stuck at 16-11 and would have won just two of their past 10 games. Yikes. Instead, they are 17-10 and have won three of their past 10 games (Hooray!). Much like a different team of Huskies in the Northwest, UConn has shown an ability to play close with good teams (Syracuse and Marquette were tested by UConn over the past week), but a lack of Basketball IQ and an ability to run an efficient offense (165th in the nation in scoring, 146th in the nation in assists) have made for a thoroughly disappointing season by a talented group of players. I have not even mentioned the fact that Jim Calhoun served a suspension earlier in the season and is now absent because of medical reasons, which is certainly a contributing factor for this disappointment, but all of this shows the extreme importance of Lamb’s performance yesterday.

Players that just missed the cut this weekend, but were still incredible: Joe Ragland (Wichita State), Isaiah Canaan (Murray State. If you have not seen Canaan play, you are missing out), Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette), Jack Cooley (Notre Dame. This is more because he has been incredible during Big East play, not just the fact that he posted an 18-13 on 8-11 shooting), Trey Burke (Michigan. I love watching this guy play), and Kyle Kuric (Louisville). Tyler’s thoughts bid adieu for now. See you next week!

The Huskies Turned a Corner! (Well, maybe)

Are the Huskies turning the corner?

When I was a young child many moons ago, I loved the movie Hercules. I could watch the movie for hours and hours, much to the chagrin of my parents, and continue to be captivated by the same plot without blinking an eye.

I find that this same thing is happening with me now, but I do not like the plot that keeps repeating. For the third year in a row, the Washington Husky basketball team has given me hope at the end of the season. Each year has given me a disappointing beginning and a torrid stretch at the end, and as a fan, it leaves me wondering how they will do come tournament time. Actually, I know that they will play better than expected in the Dance, but then tear my heart out by choking in the second half (West Virginia 2010, North Carolina 2011).

Of course, they have to make the tournament first. If they win their final three games (at USC, at UCLA and at Wazzu), I am pretty confident that they will punch their ticket to the dance, despite the quality of Pac-12 basketball being equal to a giant turd (The conference is 2-16 versus the RPI top 50 in non-conference play. Yes, that is less than ideal. But still more ideal than the ESPN Jeremy Lin mistake. You have to love blatant racism on national TV, right?…). Everyone can see that the Huskies have talent, but they vacillate from a 25 point drubbing at the hands of Oregon, to a 79-70 victory over Arizona. I present to you 6 things I have taken away from this past weekend as a Husky fan.

Pessimism (What? I am just being realistic. Don’t get mad at me!)

1. Lack of Assists

How can a team that averages 75.5 ppg (33rd in the nation) only average 13 apg (157th in the nation)? According to KenPom.com, the Huskies are 82nd in the country in offensive efficiency, and I guarantee that the lack of assists is part of the reason. As dynamic as Tony Wroten is, he often drives into the hole without any plan to pass at all, and his Assist to Turnover ratio exhibits this (.9, which means he averages more turnovers than assists. Nice.). Despite Gaddy’s sparkling 2.3 Assist to Turnover ratio, he disappears from big games (vs. St. Louis= 1-6 FG. vs. Marquette=2-11 FG, 2 assists, 2 turnovers. vs. Duke=crucial miscues down the stretch. vs. California=2 assists, 3 turnovers, Cobbs hits a key 3-pointer down the stretch). More assists=better team offense, and the Huskies simply are not doing that this year. The team played its best basketball last year when Isaiah took over the Point Guard spot and dished more dimes than anybody in the league. I applaud him for going to the NBA and succeeding, but the Dawgs surely miss him this year.

2. Lack of Post Offense

I do not have to do much analysis for this point. The fact is, Aziz has a hook shot and that is it. Gant is not a post player, and Simmons and Kemp Jr. are raw at best. Not to mention the fact that Aziz shoots 35 percent from the line, so getting the ball into him is almost a liability. You are not going to score on a breakaway every game, Aziz. Sigh.

3. CJ Wilcox injury

Wilcox made some huge 3’s down the stretch against Arizona, but he remains hampered by a hip injury that refuses to go away. A healthy CJ gives the Dawgs one of the best shooters in the country. If he remains hobbled, they merely have a shell of one of their best weapons. Granted, we have to give CJ credit for playing as well as he has, even with the hip injury. But if the Dawgs have any chance of making noise in the tournament they need CJ as healthy as possible.

Optimism (I believe in you guys! Come on team! Yeah, ok I will get on with the story now. Optimism can be annoying sometimes, eh?)

1. They played a full game!!

In the Huskies win versus Arizona, they played a complete game. They did not make us suffer through their usual 10 minutes of awful basketball. Of course, the basketball IQ of this team still leaves a lot to be desired (Luckily, Overton left this year. Basketball IQ on that boy was about 50 at best, and folks, that just ain’t good), the fact that the team beat a solid squad (and led the entire way) is a large improvement from the standpoint of every other game this season. Jerry Brewer, from the Seattle Times wrote a nice piece about this very fact in much more eloquent fashion, so feel free to read his article for a more in-depth read.

2. Terrence Ross

Need I say more? His name brings Husky fans great pride. One of the most talented players Romar has recruited, he has put the team on his back over the past month. His line for the past 3 games: 21.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 2.3 spg. That is decent I suppose. Not to mention the fact that he scored 14 of UW’s last 18 against UCLA to win the game. If Ross plays like this for the rest of the season, the Huskies have a guy who can compete with any player in the country.

3. Rebounding

The Huskies are 5th in the country in Rebounds per game at 40.3. This is normal for a Romar-coached team, and rebounding is a key component to winning basketball. After 18 offensive rebounds against Arizona, Dawg fans have to be confident that the Huskies can rebound their way to a victory if need be. Of course, they have to score too, but that is just a small part of the game, right?

Can they ‘Go the Distance’ (Yes, Hercules reference!)?

All in all, this Husky team has the talent to compete with almost anybody in the country. I am not saying they could beat Kentucky, Syracuse, Michigan State, Kansas, North Carolina etc. But I do think they have the talent to be one of the top 16 teams in the country. Either that, or they will lose their next three games and lose in the NIT. I hope for the former, and maybe I will be able to enjoy the Huskies like I once enjoyed Hercules years ago; enjoyment that gives me a desire to watch my team over and over again.

Last note: Congratulations to Darnell Gant, Tyreese Breshers and Brendan Scherrer. Gant has been an integral part to the team every year, and I will miss his defense and genuine Husky pride. Breshers is such a sad story. A medical condition forced him to retire after he blocked 26 shots during his Freshman year. It was nice to see him honored on Senior Day. Scherrer: you have been a fabulous victory cigar. We salute you.


Chris Hansen, NBA back in Seattle?!

When the Sonics left Seattle, the city lost a part of itself. The fact that the team has become one of the top teams in the NBA with two All-Stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook? Well, quite honestly, it causes me and many people from Seattle to curse the names of David Stern and Howard Schultz with fury each and every day. Every single person who follows sports to some degree knows that the Mariners have never won a World Series and that the Seahawks got screwed by the refs in Super Bowl XL (Bill Leavy will forever be a Seattle pariah). As great as the Sounders are, an American city is defined by its sports titles in Pro football, baseball, and basketball.

Most of my blog posts will be on the subject of NCAA basketball and Baseball (Instead of writing my essay for my history class this afternoon, I spent four hours preparing for my Fantasy Baseball Draft. Feel free to judge me, I deserve it.), but this developing story about a potential NBA arena in Seattle has me procrastinating my homework tonight even more than i had anticipated.

According to the Seattle TimesMayor Mike McGinn will be having a press conference tomorrow at 2 p.m. to announce a proposal for an arena in Seattle. The major brains and financial backing for the proposal comes from a wealthy San Francisco businessman (hedge-fund manager) by the name of Chris Hansen. This story has been in the works for over a week now, but the possibility now does not seem like a pipe-dream. Mitch Levy of 950 KJR radio in Seattle has been reporting excellent information about the press conference all night if you want more details on the rumors of the proposal.

Seattle fans do need to temper their enthusiasm for the moment. After all, a team will need to be uprooted from its home just as the Sonics were almost four years ago. I would hate to see a city endure what Seattle had to go through, even if the team was coming to my hometown. Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley does a good job of justifying a move to Seattle for the Kings, but I still have that lingering feeling of hypocrisy.

But the article on Chris Hansen by the Seattle Times made me forget the hypocrisy. Sure, we should be sympathetic to Sacramento, but Hansen’s hometown pride and his longing for a Seattle championship speaks to the heart of all Seattle sports fans, and all I can think about is having an NBA team that I can once again call my own. The proposal, if the information in the Seattle Times is true, seems to outline a plan that the entire city could easily support. It is time to bring the NBA back to Seattle, and maybe we can forget about Durant, Westbrook and the Thunder. Bring the NBA back to Seattle, and the city can patch itself together again.

Tyler’s College Basketball Thoughts: Jeff Withey, Adreian Payne, and the Mountain West

I introduce you to the thoughts of Tyler Bradley on the weekend (I will define weekend as Saturday-Monday. Sunday is when college students do homework, so it will be hard for me to blog on Sundays!) in the world of College basketball, which is quite possibly my favorite sport. In other words, I will give you a few players of the week, my thoughts on some important games, and some hardcore Jon Gruden style analysis. Actually, if I ever become that intense, feel free to find me and punch me in the gut. Anyway, let us begin!

From the Magical Land of Kansas

So how many people had been paying attention to Jeff Withey this year? Nobody? Not even you Arizona?

The conversation surrounding the Kansas Jayhawks has been all about Player of the Year (POY) candidate Thomas Robinson, Thomas Robinson’s shoulders (Seriously, his shoulder muscles are at least 15,000 feet high), and the suddenly consistent/lethal Senior Point Guard Tyshawn Taylor. This has been for good reason. Robinson brought in an 18-12 line (Pts-Boards) into last nights game and Taylor a 17-5 (Pts-Assts). Each time Kansas played on National TV this year, the commentators would constantly coax the other Kansas players to step up. One more scorer and Kansas could seriously be considered one of the top teams in the country.

Say hello to Jeff Withey.

In Kansas’ 59-53 win over rival Kansas State on Monday, Withey fell one block short of a triple-double. That’s right, Withey had 9 blocks to go along with 18 points and 11 boards. According to Matt Norlander of CBSSports, that is the first time a player has had that kind of stat line in three years! He came into the game averaging 3.2 blocks on the season, so his defense has been stellar all year, and he was able to save one of the 9 blocks against K-State for the final 30 seconds to help seal a victory in what was truly an ugly game (Both teams shot below 40% from the field, K-State was 4-18 from behind the arc, and both teams shot below 70% from the line. No, this was not a Big Ten game surprisingly!). This capped a third straight amazing performance from the 7 foot Junior, and the development of his offensive game seems to be a result of an array of simple post moves and great free throw shooting. His stats in the last 3 games are almost as eye-popping as Carlos Boozer’s rogaine experiment: 20.3 PPG, 12 RPG, 6.3 BPG. If he keeps this up, Kansas will be a very popular Final 4 pick, and America will have to endure an annoying amount of rock-chalk.

Before Tebow, and THE Ohio State briefly becomes just…Ohio State

In the year 2000 B.T. (B.T.=Before Tebow. Amidst all of this Jeremy Lin talk it seems as if America has already forgotten Tebow is our savior! How can this be? Thus, I use B.T. rather than B.J. Well, maybe there is another reason for why I did not use B.J. Let us move on.), the Michigan State Spartans won the National Championship behind the play of Point Guard Mateen Cleaves and Shooting Guard Morris Peterson. 12 years and 5 more Final 4 appearances later, Tom Izzo has a team that could be as mentally tough as the 2000 champions. Sure, the detractors may mention their brutal 42-41 loss to Illinois a couple weeks ago (Ladies and Gentleman, Big 10 Basketball! First one to 40 wins!), but the Spartans did not let the loss affect them, and they proceeded to dispatch a good Michigan team and a hapless Penn State squad before pulling off a HUGE upset in Columbus against the 3rd ranked Buckeyes. Not only did this snap THE Ohio State University’s 39 game home win streak, but it also moved the Spartans into a first place tie with the Buckeyes, and it gave me a reason to drop the THE from their name, which you will begin to see — as I continue to blog — is one of my favorite pastimes! The play of Draymond Green was stellar as always (One of the best pure college players you will ever see. He is up there with the likes of Tyler Hansbrough, Scottie Reynolds, and other guys who define what a college player truly is. I should write something about this eh?), but Adreian Payne played out of his mind. 6-6 from the field including a fierce put-back jam (terrible display of rebounding fundamentals by Ohio State) that sent a signal through the building. If I were an Ohio State fan, I would be ashamed of how my team played. Not only did Michigan State play tougher, they also were more fundamentally sound and their key players showed up to play. I admit, the Spartans do match up well with Ohio State because of their rebounding prowess, low-post defense, and a number of interchangeable guards to attack Craft and Buford, but the play of Ohio State’s two studs left me puzzled nonetheless. Sullinger (10 turnovers and 5-15 shooting) and Buford (2-12 shooting) better show up during the tournament when they play a team of the Spartans caliber, otherwise their season will end in disappointing fashion yet again.

The Best in the West

To conclude my “expert” analysis of this weekend’s play, the best game as far as quality was UNLV-SDSU. Chase Tapley willed his team back into the game in the second half, but with 3 steals in the final 20 seconds by UNLV and another huge performance from All-America candidate Mike Moser (19 pts, 9 boards, 6 steals, 4 blocks) gave UNLV an important one. Mark my words, neither of these teams will be an easy out in March, and both could make it to the second weekend easily. The Mountain West conference is legit, even though there is no Jimmer, and no Kawhi. I am glad that all of the polls predicted this before the season…not.

That is it for my thoughts for this week. Honorable mention shout outs for players of the week go to Ben Smith of Wichita State, Tyler Zeller of UNC for getting back on the horse after his nightmare ending against Duke, Michael Dixon of Missouri (I could not push him above Withey and Payne if only because ALL of Missouri looked great), Scoop “I take innumerable amounts of ill-advised shots that sometimes go in” Jardine of Syracuse, Trae Golden of Tennessee, Reggie Hamilton of Oakland, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of Georgia. In the meantime, Happy Valentine’s day, and do not do anything that M.I.A. would do.

Tootles,

Tyler B

Sports Blog by Tyler

Dear Readers,

Welcome to Sports Blog by Tyler. So…what is this blog about? Whether you are here because you are in one of my classes at school, or you just stumbled upon this blog somehow, I welcome you.

Now I know that all of you are on pins and needles, intensely waiting for me to explain what this blog is about. First, I implore you to click on my About page at the top of the blog for a brief introduction to who I am! I will wait a minute for you to do so. In the meantime, here is a lovely picture to enjoy.

Seattle Dawn III.jpg

Photo Credit: G. Frank Peterson

Great, you’re back from my About page, thank you for obeying my request (At least pretend like you looked at it just to humor me. I realize that the majority of you probably just kept on reading, which is what I would have done, but come on)! Yes, this is a sports blog. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Oh no, not another uninformed sports blog!” Well, I hope to show that I am not uninformed at all! Of course, I do have to prove myself, but this blog will be offering “expert” opinions, statistical analysis and random tangents that may or may not relate to sports at all. As I blog more frequently, my personal views on sports will become more apparent, and I hope that you find it invigorating, entertaining, mildly amusing or merely a blog that you can laugh at (For good or bad. Of course I prefer you to enjoy the blog, but people enjoy entertainment they condemn in America all the time! Speaking of which, Happy Anniversary to Rebecca Black!). One thing I do guarantee is that you will all learn a lot about Seattle sports and sports in general from a perspective of a college student and a lifelong sports geek.

The truth is, this blog cannot be as powerful as a REIGNMAN slam dunk without readers. Of course this presents a paradox, because I need to write well to attract readers. One of my blogging idols, Mark Titus (@clubtrillion), showed that a college kid could attract a large following with good writing, accompanied by sometimes inappropriate and inane humor. Over the next few weeks I will be blogging about a lot of college basketball and Spring Training baseball. After all, Spring Training is around the corner, and my second Christmas, or the more popular term “March Madness”, begins in less than a month. Needless to say, there will be a lot for me to write about. And do not  fear about me being a Seattle homer; my whole blog cannot be entirely devoted to my love for Dustin Ackley and Washington Basketball.

So, prepare yourselves for a blog that defies all the odds. Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic, but I hope you enjoy! If you know anybody that loves sports, Seattle or college tell them about Sports Blog by Tyler, or have them follow me on Twitter @tylerbradley9.

Sincerely,

Tyler Bradley

P.S.

Here is your major sports story/entertainment for the night. More on this Jeremy Lin character in the next couple of days. #Linsanity