Posted on: April 9, 2009 11:47 pm

The Profit

There are times in your life when you predict something and you feel like you really proud of yourself for tapping into something spiritual and noticing a trend others hadn't noticed, or maybe you just pulled something completely out of  your butt.  Either way you fell pretty good about yourself.  On the other hand, there are times when your prediction is actually your worst fear realized.  Some say that is a self fullfilling proficy, or maybe it's just that you had a sense of something.

Well, the very first blog I wrote here was about Andy Kennedy and his incident in Cincinatti last December.  My exact words were that Andy Kennedy was considered a successor to John Calipari should he ever decide to leave the Tigers, but that the incident with it's racial impilcations could cause that to be in jeopardy.   LIttle did I know that 4 short months later this exact scenario would play itself out.  Cal did in fact choose to leave the Tigers, and Andy Kennedy would've been the perfect hire, but he didn't get the job.  In fact he didn't even get considered.  Several sources have confirmed that the U of M president Shirley Raines removed Kennedy as a candidate due to the Cincinatti incident.

This is a real shame.  Andy would've been a great coach for the Tigers and would've loved the job.  Many people forget that Andy Kennedy recruited 8 McDonald's All-American's to Cincinnati and Bob Huggins.  He is also a native of north Mississippi who has done a magnificent job at Ole Miss.  Look, basketball at Ole Miss is only played because it is required by the SEC for membership.  I assure you that Ole Miss would drop the program if this where not the case.  AK is doing a great job at a place where they play basketball as a side note to give them something to do between football season and baseball season.

Andy Kennedy would've loved the Memphis job, would've taken it, and would've been a long term solution that would have taken the Memphis team and continued a winning tradition.  His incident cost hima nd us a lot.  The really sad part is that by most accounts it was a huge misunderstanding that was vastly overblown and is probably devoid of merit.

I am not saying Josh Pastner will not do a good job.  I think he will, but I know AK would've.  There is a difference between thinking and knowing.  The good thing is that if it doesn't work out with Pastner, AK's Cicny stuff should be past him by then.  He is one hell of a plan B.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 21, 2009 11:14 am

The last run

Something special will occur within the next 3 weeks.  Now I hope it actually occurs on April 6, but to say so would be wearing blue colored glasses.  No, this will probably occur sometime in the next 2 weeks.  The collegiate careers of Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson will end.  So what, neither of them has ever been the star of their teams, and they have never been the best player on any of the 4 teams they've played on.  In fact, in most cases they were the 3rd or 4th option.  This is a non-issue since they have been the consumate team players and have put the team ahead of their own personal gain.  Regardless, these guys will leave school with the  most wins of any men's basketball players on the Division 1 level.  Ever.  In the entire history of NCAA basketball.  More than Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton, Christian Laetner, Grant Hill, anyone.

Now they're down to their last run, and I honestly hope it ends well for them.  I hope they win it all, but I know the odds are against them.  The reality is that they will end with somewhere between 137 and 141 career wins.  If they get to 141 and win the championship, put that one down next to Cy Young's 514 career wins as untouchable.  No one will get close.

Unless of course Willie Kemp and Doneal Mack can make a run at it next year.  Here's the problem though.  Those guys road the bench for 2 years, while Dozier and Anderson have started from day 1.  In fact, even when Shawne Williams, Rodney Carney, Chris Douglas Roberts, Derrick Rose, and Joey Dorsey where on the team Antonio Anderson led the team in minutes, while Dozier was generally 3rd to CDR.  So, these guys will leave with the most minutes played on the winningest teams in the history of men's college basketball.  This is sort of like watching DeAngelo Willimas leave school with the most 100 yard games, most 200 yard games, and most yards from scrimage in the history of college football, it's just surreal.  I'm wondering if its actually happened.  Have we really been watching this for the last 4 years.

So how big an impact has this 4 year run left on the program.  Well, the year before RDoz and AA arrived (along with Shawne Williams, Kareem Cooper and some guy named CDR) the Tigers went to the final four......of the NIT.  They had won a total of 1 NCAA tournament games and had been in 2 tournaments total with a 1-2 record.  The first season they where in Memphis 34-3 with a run to the Elite 8 losing to UCLA (a team they had beaten earlier in the season).  They tripled Calipari's NCAA tournament win total the first season.  The next year they went 32-5 getting to the Elite 8 again.  Of course we all remember last season's 39-2 team that lost in the championship game.

Going into today's game against Maryland Anderson and Dozier have a career record of 12-3 in the NCAA tournament.  Even if they lose today they will have a .750 winning percentage in the toughest event in sports (my opinion).  A run to another Elite 8 will leave them at 14-4, while a run to the championship would leave them at 17-3.  Are you kidding me, 17 wins for a program that had won a total of 1 NCAA tournament game between 1996 and 2004.  Hell they had only been in 3 tournaments with 2 first round exits.  Now I'm not saying it's going to happen, but the possibility is amazing.  They will win somewhere between 12 and 17 times the number of games in the tournament that they had won the previous 9 seasons.

So I guess what I'm saying is we should build statues to these guys.  At the very least they should be inducted into the new Penny Hardaway U of M Hall of Fame.  They changed the culture of the program and brought an entire city a lot of pride.  So I guess what I really want to say is.....Thanks guys.  We will always love you (of course in that manly way, not like a man crush).

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 18, 2009 3:59 pm

Spring time in Memphis is great

 There are great things about springtime in Memphis.  Now technically it's not spring yet.  That occurs next week, but the reality is that spring begins in Memphis on or around March 1st.  You can always tell because the trees  begin to sprout flower buds and that scent of life begins to fill the air.

There are a couple of other things that occur as well.  First the Memphis Tigers get to begin their quest for an NCAA tournament title, and the Memphis Grizzlies get to conclude their season.  Both of these come as quite enjoyable experiences to fans of both teams.  The Memphis Tigers get to pummel the rest of Conference USA in their post season tournament and hopefully achieve a high seed in the tournament, setting themselves up for another run at the Final Four.  The Grizzlies get to play out the string and bring about the best time of year for a Grizzlies fan, the draft.

See, the regular season for the Memphis Tigers can be a bit monotonous.  Now there are the occasional Tennessee and Gonzaga games that give you a rush, but by and large you play Rice and Marshall on the schedule, which doesn't really provide a challenge or an entertaining game.  The tournament on the other hand will provide you with an experience like no other.  This gives the fans a rush they can't match any other time of year.  Making a tournament run is the most intense experience any fan can live through.

For fans of bad NBA teams there are really only two times of year that provide a thrill, the trade deadline and the draft.  I should add that for really bad teams, the draft lottery can be fun as well, but for Grizzlie fans this is generally a depressing time so I didn't include it.  The Grizzlies are generally not big players at the trade deadline, but everyone has to  participate in the draft.  Thus Grizzlie fans can look forward to that fateful night in June when the Grizzlies are forced to add a good player.  Well at least they have to draft someone they think will be a good player.  The other good thing about the post season is that the Grizz can't lose anymore games.  You can't lose if you're not playing.  Sorry, but that's just the facts.  The best time of year for Grizzlie fans is the post season when we can dream of how good our new player will be.

Ah, spring time in the south.  It's fantastic.  As basketball season ends and baseball begins.  God bless you John Calipari and O.J. Mayo, we love you both and hope you both have so much success we can't stand it.  At least that's what I'll be dreaming about in July!

Posted on: February 14, 2009 12:05 pm

General update, Amare Stoudamire, Tigers, Cubs

The one thing I've noticed since I started blogging is that it's sort of a mood thing.  I have to be in the right mood to do it properly.  It's sort of a feeling that comes and goes.  Anyway, since the mood has struck, I've got a lot to talk about.

First the Amare Stoudamire stuff.  I have no problem acquiring Amare Stoudamire for Rudy Gay, Hak Warrick and Mike Conley.  Mostly because those 3 are role players on a team that has way too many.  The most difficult to replace is Rudy Gay, who can definitely be Robin to O.J.'s Batman.  However, he probably will want to be payed like Batman.  Amare on the other hand is Superman, and having Batman and Superman on the team would be a step up.  Hak and Conley are both good players, but easily replacable.  Conley is a bust, period.  Oh he'll be a 12-5-6 guy in most years, and might get up into the 18-6-8 range in his prime.  However, this is not worthy of stopping this deal.  Hak is a bench player, enough said.  If you can get a 30-12 guy for those guys, you get him.  I'd rather pay Amare $15 million/year than pay Rudy $15 million/year.  The only caveat to this is that you must have a reasonable shot at resigning him.  He'll probably want $20 million/year in 2010.  You'll have to pony up or do a sign and trade.  Either way you have to make sure you get something for him.  Otherwise give Rudy his $15 million and trade for Beasley.  You'd have to give Conley and a pick, but Rudy, O.J. and Beasley is a pretty good consolation prize.

I do think the Grizz are starting to think straight about things.  First getting rid of Ivaroni was the right thing to do.  Hiring Lionel Hollins was savaged by most media, but not by me.  My only problem with it was that they only gave him a 1 1/2 year deal.  I'd have given him another year.  Many people didn't understand that Lionel was beloved by Michael Heisly almost fromt he moment he bought the team and moved it.  Jerry West never liked Hollins, but he was really the only one in the organization that didn't.  It's ironic because when Hubie retired, he endorsed Lionel for the job full time.  Jerry West said no, and hired Mike Fraetello which led to the steady decline we currently see.  I only wish the Bucks had agreed to that Ramone Sessions and Joe Alexander for Mike Conley deal.  Unfortunately they realized what a steal that would've been for the Grizz.

What a run by the Tigers.  After the disasterous Syracuse game the Tigers were 6-3.  Since then they've won 15 straight including wins over Cincinnati at home and roadies against Gonzaga and Tennessee.  Now this included a couple of really close calls (Tulsa anyone), but the Tigers are poised to finish the year on quite a roll.  The toughies start today at Hattiesburg and that purgatory they call a gym in Reed Green Coliseum.  They still have to go at UTEP and UAB in the next 10 games (including the conference tournament in Memphis).  A 10-0 record would almost guarantee a number 2 seed which would mean the Tigers have been a 1 or 2 for 4 straight years.  I would say this makes Dozier and Anderson the greatest pair of Tigers since Finch and Robinson.  I'll expound on this on my Blue Crew blog later.

Well pitchers and catchers report today for spring training.  As a Cubs' fan hope does spring eternal.  Only the Cubs could have a 97 win season be considered a complete disaster by not even winning one damned game in the post season.  My only real concern about the central division is that they could have some injuries which might bring the Cardinals or Astros into the picture.  I wouldn't count out the Brewers, but conventional wisdom tells me that the rest of the NL will be running to the bat rack everytime they throw one of those ptichers out there.  C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets where dominant down the stretch last year, but firing their manager was a really idiotic move.  Does anyone even know who their current manager is (hell I can't even remember who it was, but I know he did a good job)?  Just getting back to the post season will not be good enough this year.  A trade for Jake Peavey will probably happen once the ownership situation if completed.  Which, by the way, has been a great thing for Cubs fans.  Now that we don't have to support that broke ass newspaper, we can actually focus on winning.  In the regular season anyway.  One interesting note is that Lou Pinella, dating back to the 2001 post season has a 4-12 post season record with 2 first round sweeps and a 4-1 series loss to the Yankees with the 116 win Mariners team.  I'm not blaming Lou for the last 2 post seasons have been the worst played by any single team I've seen since the Grizz lost 12 straight post season games.

So, with all that said, my chest feels much lighter.  At least, I feel better.  Now if we can keep Tyreke Evans, Rich Harden, and the Griz healthy, all will be well. The next week, leading up to the trade deadline will be one of the longest of the year.  Sort of like Christmas for my kids.  If next Saturday we have Amare or Beasley, I will be one happy dude.

Category: NBA
Posted on: January 24, 2009 12:11 pm

Ricketts and Cubs...Well it's been done before

The name of this blog is The Blue Report, which is the primary team color for my 3 favorite sports teams...Memphis Tiger, Memphis Grizzlies, and Chicago Cubs.  However, I haven't really said anything about the Cubs so far.  Mostly due to the fact that it was the offseason, and the fact that only the Cubs could win 97 games in the regular season and get swept in the first round of the post season.  With that in mind I decided that I wouldn't say anything until spring training started.  However, the recent decision by the Tribune Company to sell the team to a group led by Tom Ricketts forced me to alter my plans.  Thus here it goes.

First let me say that I was a vocal disenter of the Tribune Company, mostly because I felt like Cubs fans had been forced for many years to finance their broke ass newspaper, TV station, and radio station (well I'm not sure the TV station is broke, but the radio and Newspaper sure are).  This forced the Cubs to work on a much lower budget than their income level should have allowed.  Also, they were forced to accept much lower TV revenues than the would have received on the open market, so the WGN superstation could make gobbs of cash on advertising for Cubs games while paying a fraction of the fees they would normally have had to pay.  This force the Cubs to have lower payrolls since their "income" was less than it should have been.  Likewise, the Tribune newspaper was allowed to advertise around the stadium for free taking up valuable space on the stadium that normally would have brought in millions of additional advertising dollars.  On top of all that, the Tribune's status as a publically traded company limited the amount of money that could be spent on upgrading Wrigley and the surrounding area.  This led to Wrigley literally falling apart, and the city forcing the Tribune company to upgrade parts of Wrigley Field due to it's status as a national landmark.  Of course the state had to help finance this since the Tribune company had been bleeding red ink for years.

Well Sam Zell changed all that.  His purchase brough financial sanity to the process.  I know he's selling the team, but at least he recognized a gold mine when he found one.  He improved the product on the field, well actually he just let them spend what they should have bee`n spending all along, and started charging people what they should have been charged all along for naming rights and advertising.

Now we're on  to the next phase.  The Ricketts are by all accounts baseball fans (originally from Omaha, but Tom Ricketts has lived in Chicago for almost 20 years), who have started a successful stock trading company (TD Ameritrad).  Which on a side note is impressive for two reasons.  First they have gone through this unprecidented period of downturn and are still billionaires, and secondly they have Sam Waterston as a spokeman for their company.  Anyone who uses Law and Order for their marketing shows good judgement in my book.

So, will the Ricketts continue this trend of success.  Well, if they continue to have a $140 million payroll, we should be positioned in the  NL Central, but ultimately it will be the improvements they make to Wrigley and it's surrounding area that will mark their ownership.  Any owner of the Cubs will always have the temptation to simply let it ride and rake in the profits, since winning is not a precipice for attendance and TV viewership dollars.   Here's hoping that temptation will be met with equal parts admonishment and resentment.  Otherwise, it will be "meet the new boss, same as the old boss"

Posted on: January 24, 2009 11:41 am

Lionel Hollins?---Oh well

While everyone in the entire NBA world is panning the hiring of Lionel Hollins as a replacement for Marc Ivaroni, my take is slightly less averse.  First, the team couldn't possibly look any worse.  Well I guess it could, but Sydney Lowe is in Raliegh, NC and Isiah Thomas is out of the league.  So, with this is mind why not try out Lionel.  Honestly, he'll probably not be great but I think he'll be an improvement.  For one thing, most of the players know him and I've been told the Rudy Gay signed off on this, so he should at least play hard for him.

Now, here's the problem.  should a 22 year old be involved in this or should the 60 something year old owner be the decision maker.  Honestly, I don't know.  I do know that Heisley was panned for his trade (he was the primary force behind it) of Kevin Love and Mike Miller for O.J. Mayo.  Now most of those pundits are either running for cover or eating crow.  So, let's see.  Lionel may be exactly what a young team needs, familar and steady.  If he gets their attention and establishes a style of play he'll make an improvement.

The other school of thought is that he's a place setter for someone else.  Either way, Heisley is trying to establish his stamp on the team.  Is this a good thing?  Probably not, but at least he's trying.  The local media, and national for that matter, have crucified him.  Well, let them blather on.  the strange thing is that if this works, none of them will be heard from.  If not, who cares.  He tried something new.  Ironically everyone thought Ivaroni was a great hire, but that didn't work out.  So maybe going outside the box is smart.

I for one am pulling for him, if only to prove some of those blowhards wrong again.

Posted on: January 10, 2009 12:41 pm

Darius Miles....Let the Drama Begin

I was listening to a local radio show in Memphis describe the watch Darius Miles had on as he left the Forum last Tuesday, whcih happened to be the day he was "waived".  By shear chance Darius stayed in the area and "visited" his sister in Mississippi.  Damned if he didn't just happen to be around when he cleared waivers and the Grizzlies decided to resign him to a 10 day contract the following Friday night.

Now I say all this in the backdrop of Portland's threat to anyone signing Darius.  The truth is the Grizz had decided to sign Darius to a 10 day contract before they ever released him.  Darius had proven he could back up Rudy Gay and could provide some cheap back up for a team that honestly isn't going to threaten the Blazers anytime soon.  The threats are hollow and only go to show the depths of Portland's idiocy as it pertains to their past mistakes.  It is very obvious that Chris Wallace (Grizz GM) told Darius to stay around, that the Grizz would sign him to a 10 day contract once he cleared waivers.  Trust me, Darius Miles wouldn't spend 3 days in Meridian, Mississippi no matter how much he loves his sister.  I've lived in Mississippi for over 10 years and I don't want to spend more than 1 night there.  The bottom line is that the Grizz have every intention of playing Darius far more than the 2 games that will be required to give the Blazers their salary cap hit.  For all I know, they might sign him to another 10 day contract after that.    I doesn't really matter, the Blazer just need to put their big boy jock on, and get over it.  They will still have around 7.5 million to spend this year.  If they don't spend any this year, they'll around 17 million for the summer of Lebron.  As far as this year goes, Heisley and company have one message for you Paul Allen.  "Too Bad, So Sad, Your Dad".  Darius might not help they win 1 more game this year, but he will help them provide depth and keep a young team fresh.  Besides, he will help them remove one competitor for free agents this summer.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

So back to the watch.  According to the reporters in the locker room, this thing rivaled anything Flav-A-Flav would wear around his neck.  Only this thing was completely encrusted with gold and diamonds.  Almost so big it wouldn't fit on the brothers wrist.  Now I'm not really one for bling, but I wish I could've seen it.  See this sort of represents everything we believe about Darius.  Flashy, over the top and larger than life, while at the same time sore of shallow almost to the point of being impratical.  This is what the Clippers and Portland saw.  Banging his head following and dunk, or making the hard play instead of the easy one.  I mean damn Darius, just get a Rolex like everyone else in the locker room.  You don't have to take a grandfather clock and coat it with 24K gold.

This goes to the heart of D-Miles.  Once he came, I knew the drama would begin.  I just didn't know the Blazers would start it.  In fact they've done something I didn't know was possible.  They've made him look like the good guy.  And so it begins, the drama, the pagentry, like sands through the hour glass, the days of our lives.  Oh well we made it through Bonzi Wells.

So go ahead Darius, do your best/worst.  Either way we've already won, and besides with this bunch of Grizzlies, the drama might be the most enjoyable thing to watch.


Posted on: December 28, 2008 11:49 am

Grizzlies Trade for Steve Francis

My oh my how the worm has turned.  I'm sure Stevie Franchise was feeling the sweet necture of irony dripping all over him when he learned of his trade to the Grizz.  Now I want to acknowledge that Francis never rejected being drafted by the Memphis version of the Grizzlies.  In fact his real objection seemed to be paying the exorbitant income taxes in Canada.

Regardless, the point is that Francis' career has come full circle.  His seeming last stop in the NBA will be with the same franchise (if not the same city) that it started.  So why would we even care.  Well, this is the real question.  Will Francis even make a dent.  O.k. let's look at the deal.  Basically the Girzz get back the 2nd round pick they included in the Dontae Green for Darell Arthur pick on draft night (which basically means you got Arthur for Green straight up) and Francis for a conditional 2011 draft pick protected up to 55.  Honestly I don't know what happens if the pick is below that.  I'm sure it flips to 2012 or something.

Here's the point, Francis is not Franchise anymore.  He hasn't been that since the day Cutino Mobley was traded from Orlando.  In our case Francis just has to be better than Quinton Ross.  Now Ross is a fine player, but he is no more than a 10 minute a night guy.  He provides toughness and defense, but relying on him to be O.J. Mayo's backup is too big a dropoff.  Francis, while a former 3 time all-star, has to prove he is better than that.  Can he still defend and score for 20 minutes coming off a knee injury.  If so the Grizz will be much deeper since this will give them 5 guys they rotate in the back court.  Now this won't make them playoff contenders or anything, but it will give the young guys some veterans to rely on and learn from.

While I'm at it I'll comment on Darius Miles, since his situation is identical.  He doesn't have to be Darius Miles circa 2002 or anything.  He just has to be better than Greg Buckner.  Once again Buckner is a fine player, but nothing more than a 10 minute a night guy.  The dropoff between Rudy Gay and Buckner is too large.  If Miles can help close that gap, the rotation is much deeper.  The real upside here is that we could damage Portland's salary cap if he plays 10 games.  If I where Chris Wallace I'd make damn sure he plays 10 games, if I had to piece his knee together with bailing wire and duct tape (or Portland gave me the deal I wanted for Outlaw).

So there it is.  Francis can help and we got him for a lark and cash.  No downside.  If he can play, I'd bring him back next year, if not his contract ends in May.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or