Wednesday, February 29, 2012

'Happy Leap Day!!!'

Jerome Simpson with an all-time great leap.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Throwbackz: '8 Worst Dunk Contest Performers of All-Time'

Why in Allah's name was M.A.R. in a dunk contest? 
8 - Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf - 1993
- Chris Jackson had hops, but he was known as a shooter. I think even he was surprised he got invited.  And he couldn't have been too encouraged of his chances seeing he had to follow two-time champion Harold Miner.

7 - Darrell Armstrong - 1996
- I liked Armstrong's toughness as a player, and he dunked hard when he got some momentum going, but if your repertoire consists of three, maybe four dunks, you do not belong in the NBA dunk contest.

6 - Tony Dumas - 1995
-You know things didn't go well when you have to pretend you hurt your knee . . .

5 - Antonio Harvey - 1995
- Classic case of biting off more than you can chew . . . starts off good @ 1:24 . . . but ends miserably @ 1:46 . . . Shaq's face says it all.

4 - Joshua Treadway - 1985
- Here's all you need to know about Treadway's chances of winning the contest in '85; a list of the other participants: Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Larry Nance, Darrell Griffith, and Clyde Drexler.

If you squint, Barry looks a little like Blake Griffin.

 3 - Brent Barry - 1996
- Reverse affirmative action winner here.  Barry completed the most bland free-throw line dunk in basketball history and won the award because all the other contestants were either lame dunkers (see, Darrell Armstrong, Doug Christie) or did hard dunks but with no creativity (Michael Finley). 

2 - Nate Robinson - 2006
- I know he's the only player to win the dunk contest three times, and he's a fine little man baller and off-the-bench point guard, but as far as I'm concerned, 2006 was the beginning of the end of the contest for me.  Philadelphia 76ers guard Andre Iguoudala should have won the contest, as he hammered through a variety of impressive dunks with deft ease and fluidity.  Meanwhile, it took Robinson 14 tries to complete his final dunk, which took about nine minutes of realtime.  It was probably the most painful nine minutes of my basketball watching life.

1 - Jeremy Evans - 2012
- In the year of surprises, so far this has been the least exciting one.  He wasn't even supposed to be in the contest; he replaced New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, who has been nursing an injury.  And let's face it, replacing Evans for Shumpert in a dunk contest is like trading in a '99 Ford Taurus for a 2001 Hyundai Elantra . . . Granted, he did have one dunk that was impressive, his first dunk, where he decided to wear a camera on his headband so people can 'see what he sees' when he's dunking was a FAIL of epic proportions.  On the actual dunk, I'm not sure if he got more than a foot off the ground.  And then he hung on the rim and spun around so as to add to the camera effect.  Lame.  They should not have allowed him to continue to participate after that.

Friday, February 24, 2012

'Mo Betta Blues'

No easy layups on Davis' (23) watch.
Dominant point guards have been the key to Kentucky head coach John Calipari's success in recent years.  This year, it's a former point guard who is the key dominant figure for the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats (27-1, 13-0 Southeastern Conference) and will likely be the next Coach Cal player to go first overall in the NBA Draft. From Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans at Memphis and John Wall and Brandon Knight at Kentucky, Calipari has counted on freshmen floor generals to lead their teams deep into the NCAA Tournament.   Freshmen forward Anthony Davis stands 6-foot 10-inches tall with a wingspan of a seven-footer, and is widely known for his ability to defend the paint (4.8 blocks per game, leads nation).  Davis wasn't always known for his shot-blocking though, not until the end of his junior year of high school in Chicago, when a growth spurt added him10 inches between the end of his sophomore year to the beginning of his senior year.  Calipari will take it.  Davis' inside presence is just what the Wildcats need to compliment the bevy of perimeter talents on the roster.  Sophomore forward Terrence Jones returned for another year after being a projected lottery pick last year.  Jones has the frame to bang underneath with the big men (he's listed as 6-9, 252-pounds) and the agility to take slower defenders off the dribble.  Guards Doron Lamb (48-percent from 3-point) and Darius Miller (38-percent 3-point) are spot up shooters that can light it up from deep when teams focus on stopping Davis and Jones in the paint.  Add in freshmen guard Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who has a similar game and body frame to Jones but with superior ballhandling, and Marquis Teague (younger brother of Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague) who leads the team in assissts per game (4.7), and it's easy to see why Kentucky is the top team in the nation and the frontrunner to win the 2012 NCAA Championship.  Here is a list of other talented players in the country putting in work for their respective teams this year.

Robinson is dominating in his first year as starter.
Thomas Robinson, Forward, Kansas Jayhawks. If Anthony Davis is the No. 1 player in the country, then Robinson is 1A.  The junior spent most of his career backing up Marcus and Markieff Morris (14.6 minutes per game in 2010-11, 31.2 mpg this year) and has flourished in his first opportunity to be a starter.  Robinson is an intimidating force on both ends of the floor.  He has a polished back to the basket game in the low post (17.4 ppg) and finishes almost everything in the paint with a power dunk.  Robinson is a better than average defender and a vacuum on the boards, as his 11.9 rebound per game average ranks second in the NCAA.

Kendall Marshall, Guard, North Carolina Tarheels.  He's not the quickest or most athletic point guard out, but his basketball instincts are advanced to the point where he might be the second coming of Jason Kidd.  If you wanted to show a young player how to play the point guard, definitely show him some clips of Marshall.  The sophomore has a knack for seeing the play before at happens, and it is largely due to him always having his head up on the dribble and he is never in a hurry when he breaks out in that UNC transition offense that coach Roy Williams likes to run.  Marshall's offense is improving - he had a career-high 22 points and went 4-for-5 from 3-point in his most recent outing Feb. 21 at North Carolina State.  Still, passing is his thing as he had 13 assists and zero turnovers in that same game.  His 9.8 assists per game average is second best in the nation.

Kris Joseph, Forward, Syracuse Orange.  It's always good when your most versatile player is your best player.  Joseph is the definition of a swingman with his ability to play in the post on both ends of the floor, play the perimeter on both ends of the floor, as well as being the go to guy down the stretch.  The senior from Montreal had a career-high 29 points Feb. 8 in an overtime win against Georgetown on a day when no one on the Orange could get anything going offensively.
Marcus Denmon, Guard, Missouri Tigers.  The Tigers are a guard oriented team and Denmon is the top dog.  The 6-3 senior has no problem driving the lane against the big men on offense or crashing the defensive boards, as his 5.1 rebounds per game average indicates.  What makes Denmon special for No. 3 Missouri (25-3, 12-3 Big 12) is his fearlessness as a shooter.  He has shot himself out of a early season slump and is averaging 17.8 points per game while shooting 40-percent from 3-point.

Green (23) is the unquestioned leader for Izzo's Spartans.
Draymond Green, Forward, Michigan State Spartans.  Green is quietly having the best year of his career under coach Tom Izzo and once again, Spartie looks like they have the type of squad that doesn't have a ton of flash, but is built for the NCAA Tournament.  The senior from Saginaw has put this team on his broad shoulders this year leading the team in scoring (15.5), rebounding (10.3), and is second in assists (3.8).

Austin Rivers, Guard, Duke.  It's a different type of squad for Mike Krzyzewski this year at Duke with no real go to guy on the roster at season's start.  Enter Austin Rivers, who was the top ranked high school baller by many scouting publications last year, and a fierce shooter who never met a shot he didn't like.  Rivers has the complete package on offense.  He can take you off the dribble and adjust his shot mid-air to get the best angle, or hesitate off the dribble and pull-up for jumpers.

Jones leads the Big East in poins (20.3) and rebounds (11.2).
Other players to watch:

F - Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
G - Pierre Jackson, Baylor
F - Otto Porter, Georgetown
F - Mike Scott, Virginia
F - Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
G - Dee Bost, Mississippi State
G - Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
F - Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee
F - John Henson, North Carolina
G - Shabazz Napier, Connecticut
F - Perry Jones III, Baylor
F - Kevin Jones, West Virginia
F - Fab Melo, Syracuse
G - Dominic Cheek, Villanova
F - C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State
F - Cody Zeller, Indiana
G - Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas
G - Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Durant is a NBA superstar; while Oden can't shake the injury bug.
The day after Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant dropped a NBA season high 51 points, Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden had his third season ending knee surgery and fifth career surgery overall.  Oden was drafted first overall in the 2007 NBA Draft with Durant going No. 2 . . . So coming in second is not the same as being "first loser" as some people say.  Just ask Portland fans.