Tag Archive | "Basketball"

Terrapins On the Move To B1G…But Not All the Hoops Guys Are Going Along

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Terrapins On the Move To B1G…But Not All the Hoops Guys Are Going Along

Posted on 02 May 2014 by Dwayne Showalter

What in the world?  It’s the Randy Edsall Exodus II.  This time, Mark Turgeon is taking the hit.  I was on board with Turgeon when he was hired.  Gary Williams supported it, so why shouldn’t I?

So much has changed since Turgeon was brought on after Gary’s last season.  For one, the team hasn’t been in the tournament in either of the three seasons.  After reaching the tournament for the first time under Williams in 1994, Maryland missed the tournament only 3 times.  Williams never won less than 19 games.  The Terps have two 17-15 seasons in the last three.  Things aren’t rosy.  Now players are bailing.  Rising senior guard Nick Faust (City), rising junior center Shaquille Cleare and rising sophomore guard Roddy Peters all announced they were leaving.  Now Seth Allen has joined the fleeing.  It’s a head-scratcher.

I look back and Gary’s turnaround started with a freshman class of Exree Hipp, Duane Simpkins and Johnny Rhodes in the fall of 1992.  It was launched back into the national spotlight when Joe Smith, who became National Player of the Year, started in ’93.  His arrival began a run of 11 straight tournament appearances, two final fours and a national title.

I’m hoping that this incoming freshman class, ranked 10th nationally by rivals.com, will have that sort of impact.  ’Melo Trimble, Dion Wiley and Trayvon Reed sound like they could do it but we’ve seen our share of flops here.  One thing about Gary Williams’ teams though, they always seemed to over-achieve.  No one can say that about Turgeon’s squads in three years on the job.

I’m sure he knows many will say ‘enough is enough’ if things don’t start heading upward in the Big 10 this year.  My question is “what defines heading upward?”  For one, full houses would help.  But the school pushed many long time supporters away with the Comcast Center.  Wins help fill buildings though.  I think they need to win 8 in conference this year (8-10).   Two versus Rutgers, Penn State and Nebraska with home games against Minnesota and Northwestern should produce some wins.  And they’ll have to pull out some games that people won’t give them much of a chance.  8-10 i think should buy Turgeon a chance to find his Joe Smith.  Anything less than that…well there could be a lot more turnover in College Park than just the basketball coach.  The football coach didn’t buy much security last season.  And the AD is responsible for them both.

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Lenny blocking Mason 2-16-13

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Good Riddance DUKE

Posted on 19 February 2013 by Tom Federline

Is it over? Are they finally gone? Have we seen the last of the Duke Blue Devils basketball team in the state of Maryland? We couldn’t have bid them a finer farewell! The Good (Terps) 83 points, the Bad (refs – relentless grief from the student section) and the Ugly Dukies 81 points - See Ya! The Terps get the Dukies once next year during the regular season and Mark Turgeon probably said it best – “Doubt the ACC is going to do us any favors.” With the Big Ten move, it appears we have seen the last of Duke at College Park. I am old school, I am a Maryland alum, I am sick of Coach K (the Rat Man) and I am sick of Duke basketball.

Hopefully you caught the show Saturday evening. It was quite an event. It was ugly, (26 turnovers), but they won. The young Terps refused to lose. The rested Terps ran circles around los arrogant ones, out rebounded the Dukies 40 -20, shot like 60%  and still barely managed to squeak out a 2-point victory. Carolina refs were present. I had to mute Doris (Dukie) Burke many times throughout the broadcast. Some young smart mouthed kid named Quinn Cook, (Dukie guard) claimed Gary Williams court was ”his city”.  And Lenny ate up Mason Plumlee. “O” that’s right, he was exhausted. Eat it Coach K.

Best part about watching it on ESPN? The crowd played well on the tube. I am not much on the cursing from the student section – I believe they could be more creative. But for once, I was glad to hear and even proud at times of “REF – YOU S…K”! Because they did and a national television audience got a taste of what loyal Terp fans have been getting handed for the past 40 years – lopsided calls. Doris (Dukie) Burke did acknowledge the late game ”charging” call on Dez Wells, ”should have been a no call”, when a Pukie had clearly not established ground. I do not agree with the “Rock n’ Roll Part II” - (Gary Glitter)/ Hey, You S…k chant, when the #2 in the nation is in your house. They are not in the top 10 because they s…k. I really don’t like it against any team. But, since it was Puke and since it was the last time they were going to be here….let ’em have it. I also did enjoy the “B…L S…T”, “You Can’t Do That”, “LET’S GO TERPS”, etc. The place was electric. If you haven’t seen this “flash mob” clip, watch it. Terpland on a high -http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=G1qoZxWAsk8  – it was good clean fun.

My daughter was there. She hit me up with text pictures. From the early afternoon pics, 4 hours prior to game time and Terp faithful lined up outside waiting to get in, up until the storming of the court after the final buzzer. Got me all choked up inside. The kids experienced a night at Comcast, that hopefully will never forget.”O” the memories…………..my “stormin’ the court game” was when the Terps beat then #1 ranked UVA and Ralph Sampson (1982), in overtime at Cole. I remember Adrian Branch going off and Mark Fothergill playing Sampson tough. Then I believe Fothergill hit a late game field goal from the corner to ice it. Do you all have a “stormin the court” moment?

I don’t like Duke. I have not liked Duke since Jim Spanarkel and Mike Gminski. I am tired of the arrogance. I am tired of the preferential treatment. I am tired of the money. I am tired of the whining. I am tired of them winning. I am tired of Mike Krzyzewski. And if those weren’t reasons enough, there was the Final Four game in 2001. That loss still gives me chills. I dislike Duke more than any other sports team. I don’t like the majority of Yankee fans, Steeler fans and especially Red Sox fans. The teams…….. I can put up with (well, maybe not the Yankees). But Duke is in a class all by itself. It has always been, “Anybody but Duke”.  I really think that adage originated with Duke basketball. I am not going to miss Terps/Duke basketball. I know my blood pressure will be better for it.

I’m not buying this, “the rivalry is gone”. Duke is not our rival, people. UVA is our rival. The Duke rival is UNC. Terp fans don’t like Duke. Terp fans want to beat Duke. Terp fans would like to think Duke is our rival……….but they are not. And who should care anymore? We gone. We is going to the midwest. Now watch, Coach K will retire. The 5 Super Conferences are right around the corner. The real intrigue is, who will be following the Terps to the Big 20 or whatever the conference becomes? All I can say is, anybody is welcome, “Anybody But Duke!” GO TERPS!

D.I.Y.

Fedman
 

 

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acc_1978

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Terps to the Big Ten

Posted on 29 November 2012 by Tom Federline

It just ain’t right. The University of Maryland is leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference to join the Big Ten (or is it 12, or 14, or eventually 24?), to “ensure the financial stability” of the sports department (possibly save 7 sports) and receive “academic benefits.” Pa-lease Wallace Loh and Kevin Anderson, we are not buying it. Just like the Iowa and Army alumni (respectively) that did not buy the oceanfront property in Kansas you tried selling them at your previous jobs.  It’s all about setting the University up for the conversion into the Five (5) Super-Conferences. It’s all about excuses to raise tuition. It’s all about the money. It’s all about football and basketball.

Nice Thanksgiving Week surprise, huh? Stuff this, U of M. Yeah, yeah, yeah……….financially it may help dig the powers at large out of the hole they dug and an attempt to save face from the ridicule and embarasssment of losing 7 athletic programs. I liked the Lefthanders quotes – “What is the matter? Why are they so broke?” How can a major state university mis-appropriates monies and drop 7 sports? I still can’t get over that one. With all the successes of mens/womens basketball teams, mens/womens soccer, mens/womens lacrosse, womens filed hockey, etc. I just don’t buy it.

The Atlantic Coast Conference to me: Clemson, Duke, NC, NC State, Vigina, Wake Forest, maybe Georgia Tech (1978) and of course the Terps. That’s what I grew up with. That is what I will always remember. I didn’t buy Florida State coming in (1991) and my goodness when the Big East started invading, I basically boycotted those games. My most memorable ACC basketball coaches: the Lefthander, Gary, Coack K., Dean Smith, Norm Sloan, Jimmy V., Terry Holland, Dave Odom (the otter) and Bobby Cremins. Those days are gone, but oh the memories.

So, who did you root for this past week in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge? I was all over Michigan – “Go Wolverines beat State! and “How ’bout them Stinkin’ Badgers - beat those Wahoos!” I don’ think so……..but it was (as always) ”Anybody but Duke. Go Buckeyes!”  Basketball is going to be interesting. Football……….Terps don’t have a chance.

Brace yourself for the five (5) Super-Conferences. That is where Collegiate sports is heading. Throw out the traditional geographically correct conference locations. Some rivalries will remain, some will start anew, some will become a distant past memory. It’s all about the money and bragging rights. Not that any of this is “fixed” or there has been some mis/re-allocation of funds, because that would just absolutely crush me. Gosh darn, I sure hope greed hasn’t entered into the picture.

The student-athlete? I guess it depends on the sport and the individual. The athlete (how much money can you bring in) – student (which is questionable with the football/basketball programs), is more like it.  Will this move ”fix” the supposed struggling U of M Athletics? Only time will tell. Maybe the powers at be needed NEW money? Not that any of this is “fixed” or there has been some mis-allocation of funds, because that would just absolutely crush me. Gosh darn, I sure hope greed hasn’t entered into the picture.

The Big Ten? Currently most of those schools are in the mid-west and north right? So, when are we going to Minnesoda on a road trip. Terrapin Nation be travelin’ well to Nebraska or how about Iowa? Those destinations on your “bucket list”? I wonder how easy it will be to get a football ticket in Ann Arbor, for Terps / Michigan? Ok, going to that stadium with a full house might be cool. But I’m doing it in September!

Bottom line – the “Times They are a Changin’” – (Bob Dylan). Accept and roll or divert your energies. As an “old schooler” and traditionalist – it just ain’t right. As a realist – bring it on. It’s all a little heavy to digest at the moment. On a positive, no more Carolina refs on a consistent basis. I have heard gossip about those corrupt Michigan refs though. You kiddin’ me? GO TERPS!

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Olympic Hoops Age Limit Not As Stupid As It Sounds

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Olympic Hoops Age Limit Not As Stupid As It Sounds

Posted on 19 July 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

In his near 3 decades as NBA Commissioner David Stern has at times been misguided, conspiratory, overbearing, greedy and contemptuous but rarely has the commissioner been stupid. Still, as Kobe Bryant surmised as much in assessing Stern’s desire to limit NBA participation in the Olympics to those 23-years old or younger, many seem to agree that the commissioner’s idea is stupid.

The United States never took kindly to losing in the international game, and in 1992 set out to prove their dominance on the world stage despite the fact that said dominance was already universally acknowledged. The result was the Dream Team and the 20 years of basketball history that has followed. The US while no less dominant is no longer the lone source of NBA talent, and the NBA has benefited immensely from the influx of global superstars to their ranks.

 

It’s probably safe to say now though that the Dream Team era has run its course and the excitement of seeing the NBA’s best on the Olympic stage has dampened. The NBA’s global reach is constantly growing as foreign-born players in the league’s ranks continue to compel new eyes to the game. It’s probably safe to assume that the risk/reward equation that the NBA once embraced in an effort to gain international exposure is now upside down and as a result the league is rethinking their growth philosophy.

 

One other thing has changed since the 1992 Dream Team. When the Dream Team was conceived, the NBA and the Olympics were both the broadcast property of NBC. Surely the NBA had a lot less issue with offering up their talent (essentially donating it) to the crown jewel sports property of their own broadcast partner than they do now, as the NBA has moved to ABC and recently agreed to stay there through 2016. Safe money suggests that ABC can’t be altogether happy about paying premium dollars to broadcast NBA games then watching the best talent compete for free while making money for rival NBC in the Olympics.

 

Now that the NBA has reached global status, it’s time to take another step forward. If you’re looking for a model to follow in growing a game worldwide look no further than FIFA and the world’s soccer scene for an ideal path to follow.

 

International soccer teams don’t send their best to the Olympics. They send very good players, but the best are reserved for World Cups and the like where FIFA stands to make the lion’s share of the money. Make no mistake; putting an age limit on Olympic participation is only step one for the NBA. The logical step two would be to create their own international tournament, own it, and pocket the money rather than providing talent to NBC and the Olympics. That’s not stupid.

 

Also, if the NBA limited its players, from all countries, from participating in the Olympics after age 23 it would only further stack the Olympic deck in favor of the US which still enjoys a seemingly endless supply of young talent, while other countries with less NBA players to begin with would lose most of their top end talent to the age limit.

 

From a competitive standpoint, the US would likely continue to shine while the rest of the world takes big steps back. From a US interest standpoint, it might be fun to see younger, more excitable, more anonymous players showing and proving on the international stage instead of the same collection of talent we see year after year at the All-Star game. There are some (myself included) who would much rather watch the rookie/sophomore game than the actual All-Star game on the NBA’s All-Star weekend.

 

Here’s my 12 man, 23 and under roster for the US this year. Not bad.

 

Notable Players Left Out for Injuries

 

Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and Blake Griffin

 

The Bigs

 

Kevin Love, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe, Anthony Davis

 

Swing Forwards

 

Kevin Durant, Evan Turner, Gordon Hayward

 

Guards

 

Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Jrue Holliday, Brandon Jennings

 

Notable Players Left Out

 

Tyler Zellar, Derrick Favors, Kenneth Faried, Al Farouq-Aminu, Kawai Leonard, Terrence Jones, Derrick Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilcrest, Thomas Robinson, Tyreke Evans, Kemba Walker, John Wall, Jeremy Lin, Brandon Knight, Eric Gordon, Paul George, Josh Selby

 

 

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Where do the Wizards stand before the 2012 NBA Draft?

Posted on 27 June 2012 by Christopher Cook

On the eve of NBA Draft night, the Washington Wizards sit in a position where they can add another young piece to their rebuild. It’s a process that started in February of 2010 when the Wizards shipped out all-stars Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison while Gilbert Arenas sat at home serving his season long suspension. Then John Wall, Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker came to the Wizards by way of the 2010 draft. Shortly thereafter, Arenas was moved to Orlando early in the 2010-2011 season for some guy pretending to be Rashard Lewis and the Wizards acquired Jordan Crawford from the Hawks for Kirk Hinrich. The Wizards also seemed to be the winners of last year’s draft where they added “The Dunking Ninja” Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack.

The pieces were all in place this past season, but the Wizards failed to live up to our moderate expectations. Sitting at the 10-32 mark on March 15, Ernie Grunfeld decided it was time to ship off notorious knuckleheads JaVale McGee and Nick Young for proven big man Nene. The Wizards were forced to let go of two young athletes with lots of potential to add some stability and experience.

We were treated to some impressive efforts from Kevin Seraphin and James Singleton, but left disappointed by another Trevor Booker injury and too many Brian Cook three-pointers. Such are the ups and downs of being a Wizards fan. The season ended on a six game winning streak leaving the Wizards a mere 26 games behind the first place Heat. I’m not sure what was reasonable to expect from a young team coming into a lockout-shortened season without the benefit of a normal off-season or pre-season. I’d say 20 wins sounds about right.

The Wizards managed to snag a little bit of press in the post-season when Grunfeld orchestrated a deal with the New Orleans Hornets, proud owners of the number one pick in tomorrow’s draft, that sent the grossly overpaid Rashard Lewis and a second round pick (one of two the Wizards had in the second round) for the moderately overpaid Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. All that brings us to where we are now, June 27, the night before the NBA Draft.

The Wizards added the front-court depth they needed with Nene and Okafor. They are looking at a starting line-up right now of Nene and Okafor in the paint, John Wall and Jordan Crawford at the guard spots and Ariza holding down the wing. Depending on the way tomorrow night goes, Crawford could be out of a starting job at the beginning of next year. Shelvin Mack will be backing up Wall again. Trevor Booker and Seraphin will be the front-court back-ups and Chris Singleton will be the back-up small forward.

The Wizards haven’t made the sexy move that the casual fan is looking for, but they’ve added some quality players to their draft picks and have gotten rid of any semblance of the Gilbert Arenas “big three” era, with one big exception. That elephant standing in the room is indeed number seven for your Washington Wizards, ANDRAY BLATCHE!! After signing an extension in 2010, Blatche turned in a decent 2010-2011 campaign. He then showed up for the 2011-2012 season in terrible shape and played in just 26 games before being shut-down for conditioning issues in March. Surprisingly, the Wizards were unable to find anyone interested in trading for Blatche. He will likely be the Wizards’ first victim of the new NBA amnesty clause. No matter how they do it, the Wizards need to get rid of Blatche.

John Wall didn’t make the progress fans expected in his second year, but he showed us more of that incredible speed and athleticism we’ve come to love while reminding us that he has a bit of work to do before he is a legitimate perimeter threat. He should be the only untouchable player on this roster.

Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin made the greatest strides this year. They both showed fans that they could score in a variety of ways and that they belong in the rotation. Jan Vesely will have to steal some minutes from Booker and could be an important player if Booker gets bit by the injury bug again. Vesely did a lot of the little things this year and, as cliche as it sounds, those things didn’t show up in the stat sheet. Okafor and Nene should be solid as starters and they eliminate the need to add more big men to the roster. Chris Singleton was slightly disappointing in his rookie season. He wasn’t able to score and often looked lost on defense which was supposed to be his specialty. The arrival of Ariza clears up the confusion about who is going to start on the wing next season. Singleton is cut from the mold of Trevor Ariza, primarily a defensive player with some ability to slash to the basket and finish at the rim. Ariza is most well known for making some big steals for the Lakers in the 2009 NBA Playoffs. Wizards fans will hope for meaningful moments like that from Ariza this year as they look to make a push to get back in the post-season.

The big question for the Wizards is “Who will do the scoring next year?” Nene has the ability to score in the paint, but the Wizards need a legitimate perimeter threat. Jordan Crawford showed flashes of being that guy last season. He also put together a historically bad stat line. A lot of the pressure was on Crawford to take shots while he was on the floor because guys like Wall, Singleton, Vesely and Mack were passing on open looks. Ariza and Singleton aren’t reliable shooters and whether or not D-league call-up Cartier Martin will return to the team is unclear.

The answer for the Wizards could be found with the number three pick in the draft tomorrow night. Shooting guard Bradley Beal seems to be the most viable solution to the Wizards’ shooting woes. While comparisons to Ray Allen may be a bit premature, Beal has solid mechanics and would certainly benefit from work-outs with NBA trainers. Beal would fit in great with the young athletic players in D.C. and could replace Jordan Crawford as the starting shooting guard.

It’s been a long, painful process, but the Wizards are finally back in a position where they can contend for the 6-8 seed in the Eastern Conference. With the benefit of a full off-season, expect great improvements from Shelvin Mack, Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton, as well as a better relationship between John Wall and his running mates. When Wizards fans tune into the draft tomorrow night, they will hopefully be watching the team make a lottery pick for the last time before the rebuilding process inevitably begins again eight years from now. With the addition of any of the prospects in this year’s class, the Wizards will be getting another high character player with great work ethic to add to the quality players and quality people they already have.

While last year’s results looked a lot like the results from the past few losing seasons, any one who watched the games can tell you that effort was not the issue last year, as it has been in the past. New coach Randy Wittman had everyone working harder and playing to the last minute of every game. With the right pick in tomorrow’s draft, and a lot of hard work and practice, the 2012-2013 Washington Wizards may look a lot different than the product we’ve seen the last few years. Ted Leonsis and his team may finally be able to start some “New Traditions” in the District after all.

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LebronImage

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Lebron’s New Fan

Posted on 27 June 2012 by derekandrews

I might lose Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and Nestor might just kick me out of the competition over this comment, but I stand by it, and that comment is that: I am officially a Lebron fan.

How can a die-hard Lakers fan be a Lebron fan? I asked myself that question as I wrote this article and I came up with three reasons.

Reason #1 – He was clutch in the moments of adversity.

He has been ridiculed and scorned for not having the heart to close out a critical game, but he proved that he is more than capable in closing out games.In the critical close out game, Game 6 against the championship pedigree Celtics and had one of the greatest performances in playoff history, period.

He dished the ball with grace and precision and played quality defense. In Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Thunder, he hit a clutch shot in the 4th quarter sealing the game and taking back home court. He didn’t have the flu or a bum knee, but he came up big with a three pointer in the 4th quarter in Game 4 of Finals while experiencing leg pains.

Reason #2 – He was a team player first.

He expressed after winning his first championship that last season he played with a lot hate and this year he returned back to who he was as a man and a player. His life and game adjustment proved to give him the formula towards winning this year. His game improved greatly and the game was fun again. This year he never deferred from who he was. What he was scorned for was his greatest asset.

Reason #3 – He owned up to his faults and challenged himself.

First, he owned up to his game on the court. He worked tirelessly and diligently to add dimensions to his game that consequently made him more unstoppable. He never gave up and stuck with the game plan. This is the sole reason why he earned his third MVP award and eventually the NBA Finals MVP.

Second, he owned up to the fiasco called the “The Decision” and the lavish party and declaration that it would be easy to win multiple championships. He couldn’t undo what happened but he moved on to be a better person and athlete.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will not defer from criticism at times of mental breakdowns, but I will give credit where credit is due. He needs to win multiple championships to enter that upper echelon of NBA greats. I would say three rings would suffice to putting him in the likes of Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas and others. He also needs to win it all during a full 82 game season. I will give him a pass because despite the labor-shortened season, it was condense in a shorter period of time and the league didn’t suffer too much on ratings and revenue.

Let’s debate about it on Twitter @WinLifestyle

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Bias’ NBA Career Unveiled

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Bias’ NBA Career Unveiled

Posted on 20 June 2012 by Dwayne Showalter

BiasWith yesterday being the 26th anniversary of the passing of Len Bias, there was a lot of social media chatter amongst us middle-aged Terps fans. Much of it centered on the memories we all were all robbed of when Bias ingested a lethal amount of cocaine in a campus dorm in the early morning hours of June 19th, 1986.  The comparisons to Michael Jordan invoked.  The rings, the rivalry, the NBA in general.  With that premise, I decided to, ever so scientifically, track Bias’ career as it would have almost certainly played out (according to me and my crystal ball).  It starts in Boston in 1986.

 1986-87 It’s Bias’ rookie season in Boston.  Bias makes his inroads slowly under K.C. Jones who knows his team is already the best in the East before the arrival of Bias.  He finishes the regular season averaging only 10.5 points and 4.5 boards in about 22 minutes per game.  Chuck Person is still the Rookie of the Year.  But much like the 1984 ACC tournament, Bias arrived in the post-season.  He averages nearly 15 points and 8 boards.  The Celtics, pushed to 7 games without Len against Milwaukee and Detroit, now win both series in five.  With Bias playing significant minutes in the Finals, the Celtics still fall in the Finals to the Lakers (though in 7 games instead of 6).

1987-88 An injury to Kevin McHale opens the door for the 2nd year forward.  Though Michael Jordan wins the league MVP, Bias is the difference between the Celtics bowing in the Conference Finals to Detroit and instead winning the East.  He starts 33 games, averages 30 minutes with 15 points and 7 rebounds.  Again he raises his game in the playoffs.  K.C. Jones may not be able to hold Bias back next season.  James Worthy and Len Bias are third on the marquee in the Finals behind Magic/Bird and Parrish/Kareem.  But by the end of the series, Bias’ raised play and Bird’s clutch shots make them the heroes and the Celtics repay the Lakers winning in seven.

1988-89 Another injury creates opportunity for Bias though he clearly is ready to start.  This time, it’s Bird who is lost for most of the season and the playoffs.  With Parrish and Dennis Johnson aging, Bias gets the minutes he’s craved and the ball.  Bias puts up All-Star numbers in the 1st half and makes his first appearance in the game.  He starts every game for the Celtics but the burden of the offense wears on him.  He finishes averaging just over 24 points per game and 8 rebounds.  The Celtics win the division with Bias instead of finishing second.   But without Bird, the first Jordan/Bias playoff matchup goes to the Bulls in 6 games in the second round.

1989-90 – With Bird back and pouring in 22 a game, he’s deferring more to Bias as the season wears on.  Reggie Lewis is now a key player as well.  Bias comes back leaner and quicker after hitting a late-season wall in ’89 determined to make the East a three-team race of Detroit, Chicago and Boston.  Bias makes another All-Star game and starts 80 games.  The aging Celtics make what could be their last run with Bird running the show.  The mix of young and old works perfectly and the Celts down the Bulls and Pistons before sweeping Portland Blazers in the Finals and Bias gets his second ring.  But Bird, in somewhat of a sentimental vote, wins the Finals MVP.

1990-91 With Bird now 34, he plays only 60 games but still sees the ball in key moments, almost as an homage to his greatness.  Bias posts career highs in almost every category.  He’s 4th in the league scoring with 28.1 a game.  He averages nearly 10 rebounds and is named to the All-Defensive team.  And Bias, always a solid shooter from 18-22 feet, has now solidified his 3-point shot.  The Celtics shoot passed Detroit with Bias but falter against Jordan and the Bulls who feel now it’s their time.  Bias however edges Jordan in MVP voting after much politicking by Bird.

1991-92 Bias is now the man in Boston.  He, with Reggie Lewis, now fuels the team.  Parrish continues to contribute.  Bird is hurt again.  McHale struggles mightily.  The Bulls rule the regular season again and Jordan continues to pour in points.  With Detroit faltering, the Celtics contend with Cleveland to face the Bulls in the conference finals.  Bias puts up his best playoff series to date against the one player selected ahead of him in the NBA draft, Brad Daugherty.  He pumps in 36 a game in the 6-game series including 49 in the series clincher.  Bias has set Jordan squarely in his sights.  But the Bulls are too much again.  Bias and the Celtics fall in a classic 7 game series with each perennial All-Star averaging over 33 points.  Bias also plays in Barcelona on the greatest basketball team ever assembled and wins a Gold Medal averaging 12 points a game during the Olympic Games.  He is now clearly one of the top 5 players in the world.

1992-93 Bias misses camp in a contract dispute.  He plays sparingly in the first few weeks.  Then he is injured and misses the All-Star game for the first time in four years.  Suddenly, the Knicks have risen to the top of the East.  But Bias returns for the final 30 games and has the Celtics running on all cylinders as the playoffs start.  In round two, Bias gets the best of Jordan for the second time in 5 tries in the playoffs.  The Bulls face too many obstacles to complete the three-peat.  One being Bias.   The Knicks cannot stop Bias either.  With Bird gone, the former Terp has the chance to put his stamp on the Celtics.  Boston wins 4-1 over both New York and Barkley’s Suns to win Len’s 3rd ring.  This time, it comes with a Finals MVP trophy.

1993-94 Bias enters his eighth season with no main rival.  Jordan has moved onto baseball.  But he has no 2nd fiddle on his team either.  Reggie Lewis dies in the off-season.  And Parrish is now 40 and Bird retired.  Bias needs to score now more than ever.  And he does.  For the first time he averages over 30 points.  But the team struggles and squeaks into the playoffs as the 8th seed.  The lose 3-2 to top seeded Atlanta.  Bias and the Celtics miss an opportunity in the Jordan-less NBA to win their fourth title in Bias’ career.  They must re-tool.

1994-95 They don’t.  Greg Minor and Eric Montross are drafted and make minimal impact.  An aging Dominique Wilkins is brought in and performs well but Bias and he don’t gel as well as hoped.  Bias’ scoring slips to 27 points per game.  The team struggles again and finishes 8t h again.  The Magic, with Shaquille O’Neal, bounce Boston in round one.  The natives are restless.  The off-season won’t be pretty.

1995-96 Bias and Red Auerbach have a great relationship and come to an agreement that the window in Boston has closed for Bias to keep the team in contention alone.  He is shipped to Washington for Rasheed Wallace and a No. 1 draft pick.  He will play in his own backyard and mentor Chris Webber and Juwan Howard.  Bias shines.  The team, attendance and the general outlook Washington improves.  The Bullets hadn’t been in the playoffs in seven seasons but make it now.  Bias again averages over 30 points but misses a scoring title by 0.3 points to the un-retired Jordan.  The Bullets upset Indiana but fall to the Magic in 7 games. 

1996-97 The Bullets win 50 games for the 1st time since their glory days in the late 70s.  Bias scores 29.3 per game, again losing the scoring title to Jordan by 0.3.  In the playoffs the Bullets oust third-seeded New York but the Miami Heat win the second-round series over Washington 4-2.  Bias is hobbled by a hip injury in Game 3 and cannot compete at his usual high level and will need surgery.

1997-98 Bias, a folk hero in Washington, struggles with the lingering hip injury. He is relegated to action in only 33 games.  It’s the second time Bias deals with significant injury.  But now in his twelfth season and 35 years old, Bias is noticeably less spry.  His numbers fall drastically and Washington flounders, missing the playoffs.  Many count Bias out and the Bullets determine they need to part ways with the aging, damaged star after three seasons.

1998-1999 The Los Angeles Lakers come calling in need of a veteran front court player.  They contemplate Dennis Rodman and Len Bias.  They take Bias for his ability to score. The Lakers lean on a young dynamic duo of Kobe and Shaq.  Bias isn’t expected to contribute as he once did in Boston but a strike shortened season helps Bias’ body heal.  He surpasses expectations in a role shared with Robert Horry but the Lakers as a team disappoint.  Len Bias is happy and likes the direction of the young team.  Retirement talk starts but Len will play into the new millennium.

1999-2000  Bias settles into a supporting role and the Lakers start to role the West.  He averages only 19 minutes and 10.1 points a game.  The Lakers ride Kobe and Shaq to the top seed and blast through the Western playoffs. In the playoffs Bias’ minutes go down but his production goes up.  He is used as a spot up shooter….deadly on the baseline.  He uses brain over brawn now. Bias still averages 12 points in the Finals against the Pacers.  The Lakers win 4 games to 1.  Bias plays most of the fourth quarter in Game 5 to serenades of  “Len-ny Bi-as……Len-ny Bi-as.”  He’d become a fan-favorite in LA and treats them with 22 points in the clinching game.  Bias has won his 4th ring – one less than his rival Jordan who will eventually resurface in Washington.  Bias chooses not to pursue the 5th ring in LA, one that looks like a sure thing.  He retires at 37.  It is a fitting end-point. 

For his career he averages over 25.01 points a game, thirteenth all-time, in 14 seasons.  He averages 8.8 rebounds.  He shoots 81% from the free throw line.  His pure numbers put him in company with the likes of Karl Malone and Julius Erving.  He makes 8 All-Star teams.  Three times is on the All-Defensive team.  He wins one MVP award, one Finals MVP and one Gold Medal.  He wins 4 NBA Titles, 3 in nine seasons in Boston and 1 in LA.  His number is raised to the rafters in Boston in 2004.  He is elected to the NBA Hall of Fame in 2005.  He goes 2-3 in playoff series against the greatest player ever and his main rival, Michael Jordan.  They are to the 90′s what Magic and Bird were to the 80′s.

 

 

 

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Did Suggs ball just a little too hard?

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Did Suggs ball just a little too hard?

Posted on 03 May 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

The story broke fast and furiously this morning after Glenn Clark sent out the first tweet regarding a potential season-altering Achilles injury for Terrell Suggs. Within 20 minutes, the entire purple universe was made aware of our worst fears as Ravens fans – T Sizzle apparently balled too hard and appears to be lost for at least most of the 2012 season or worse.

So many questions and so little real information beyond Suggs telling Baltimore Ravens fans he’d be back on the field by November. Sure…we’ll see!

No. 55 isn’t a doctor but he’ll play one on the internet…

As a fan, I’m angry at Suggs’ brazen attempt to play basketball after the Ravens have essentially forbid him from doing so. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says the team had a $250,000 “fine” placed into his contract for doing just that.

Of course, by mid-afternoon, more rumors surfaced that Suggs tore his Achilles running around cones in a gym as part of his training.

You can choose to believe whatever you like but either way this is a monumental blow to the Ravens’ chances of competing in the AFC and showing up with confetti under the dome in New Orleans next February.

Do we have the right to be angry as fans? Well, my Facebook community was more alarmed by the freak injury and far more agitated with “WTF’s?” than feel good, “Dear Sizzle, Get Well Soon” kinda messages.

But such is life in the era of social media and instant information and feedback. Much like the awful and tragic death of Junior Seau about 24 hours earlier, everyone with a Facebook status was opining about everything from suicide to concussions to amateur depression experts.

At some point, the truth will surface about both Suggs’ injury and the length and duration of his recovery. That will happen.

What can’t be faked or hidden for a week is how the Ravens’ defense and team will react and attempt to do the impossible – replace Terrell Suggs on the field for 40 to 60 snaps a week in September, October and perhaps beyond?

Enter a band of mighty men including Paul Kruger, Courtney Upshaw, Pernell McPhee, Sergio Kindle and a variety of other players who will need to step up their game and their pass rush in 2012.

It was certainly far from the minds of Ravens’ fans – or anyone in the front office – to believe that Suggs would be M.I.A. for the 2012 season earlier today.

But, alas, reality has set in for everyone involved.

And now the Ravens will be forced to pick up the pieces and John Harbaugh and new defensive coordinator Dean Pees will be calling “next man up.”

But we all know enough to state the obvious: the next man up won’t be as good as Terrell Suggs and the Ravens have taken a significant step backward in their pursuit of Super Bowl glory next February.

And Ray Lewis isn’t getting younger…

And neither is Ed Reed…

Is this the beginning of what can only be a let-down after four consecutive playoff and failed Super Bowl runs?

A shame all the way around…and certainly not the conversation the Baltimore Ravens or the fan base want to be having in early May.

 

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MSB Trend Report: Who’s Storming the Court and Who’s Courting the Storm?

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MSB Trend Report: Who’s Storming the Court and Who’s Courting the Storm?

Posted on 06 March 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Here’s the MobTown Sports Beat, Tuesday Trend Report. It’s our appraisal of who’s balling and who’s falling in the world of “sports futures”.

 

 

Five on the Rise – Here’s who’s balling

 

 

Deron Williams

 

As everyone focuses on Dwight Howard and where his fortunes may lead him after this season (or at the trade deadline) the Nets are just quietly hoping that they’ll be able to retain Deron Williams, and use the allure of his services to land Howard too. Williams however seems intent on testing the waters of free agency, and may feel compelled to return home to Dallas and join the Mavericks or to land wherever he sees the best chance at winning and being happy. On the way there, Williams is showcasing all of the reasons why he should be the hottest commodity headed to free agency at season’s end.

 

After helping to jumpstart Lin-Sanity in its early stages, Williams responded to the hype in his second chance against the Lin led Knicks with 38 points and 6 assists. Since then Williams has handed out 8, 12, 8 and 7 assists in his last 4 games respectively, the last accompanying an incredibly efficient 57 points against the Charlotte Bobcats.

 

Williams is clearly peaking at just the right time.

 

 

Peyton Manning

 

As the Colts brace for the most anticlimactic $28 million decision in history, it seems that the Manning camp is at least giving them something to think about. Over the last day or so, allegedly unauthorized video of Manning throwing at Duke University has mysteriously surfaced, showing the QB’s arm and skills in a good light. It’s inconceivable that the latest “news” has done anything to sway the Colts’ decision, nor should it, but it’s at least an indication that Manning is on a better course than some have suggested to this point.

 

 

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torrey

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MobTown Sports Beat Thursday Agenda

Posted on 29 December 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

Here’s what’s on the agenda for Thursday’s edition of the MobTown Sports Beat. Check us out streaming here from 10am-2pm and chime in by phone (410-481-1570), by email (thyrl@wnst.net) or on Twitter ( @Thyrl or @WNST )  

 

Great Guests

Terps Color Analyst Chris Knoche will join me at 10:30 to talk about the arrival of Alex Len, the Terps win over Albany on Wednesday and what we might expect of them from here.

 

Luke Jones will join me at 12:30 to update this week in playoff preparation with a Ravens report.

 

Nick Minnix from KFFL.com will join me at 1:00 to put a wrap on another fantasy football season and maybe to look ahead at fantasy baseball season too.

 

…and you never know who else might drop in.

 

 

The Big Three Questions

 

It’s the Miami Heat of radio segments as not only will it be tough to expect it to live up to the hype but also because you’ll never get a 4th out of me (I might be running out of time to tell that joke).

 

 

Question #1: Is Baltimore a Wizards town…or an NBA town at all?

 

Question #2: Can Turgeon’s Terps make the tourney…or finish in the top half of the ACC?

 

Question #3: Is it fair to name Alabama the National Champion if they narrowly beat LSU? Does anyone care?

 

 

Nickel and a Nail

 

Five timely topics of conversation for the day and a jab for someone who deserves it.

 

Ravens Playoff Push Begins

 

Week 17 and home field and a bye in the playoffs are on the line against an up and coming Cincinnati team that may be knocking on the playoff door a year ahead of schedule. Of course we’re talking Ravens football today.

 

 

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