Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Bowl Hangover

So what else is new?

Is Bob Knight's decision to resign from Texas Tech, effective immediately, hypocritical? Perhaps, but when have we expected anything less from the embattled hoops coach?

Knight claims he's grown tired of coaching, which I can get behind; he's 67 and has been coaching for 42 years. That's not even taking into account the fact that he's coaching basketball at a football school in a football state, and even when the team was at its best, the interest really wasn't there.

I can dig that. Really, I can.

But to bail with at least 11 games left in the season? To leave when the Red Raiders, who are 12-8 (3-3 Big XII) and on the NCAA bubble, as they enter the stretch run? That's low -- even for a man known for tossing furniture and choking his players.

I ripped Bobby Petrino when he bailed on the Atlanta Falcons with three games left in a dismal season, and I do the same to Knight, who had signed a three-year extension at Texas Tech before the season. I don't care how many times he talks about giving his son Pat a smooth transition into the head coaching seat and all that: fact is, Knight quit on his team, and that is inexcusable.

If Knight wants out, that's fine, but the least he could've done was wait until the end of the season.

Laker thievery

The Lakers made out like bandits when they lured Pau Gasol away from the Memphis Grizzlies. Only having to give up Kwame Brown and a pair of inconsequential draft picks? Probably the best deal in the NBA since the Miami Heat came away with Shaquille O'Neal.

Brown was as ineffective in Los Angeles as he'd been in Washington, only without the lying about having the flu during the playoffs. The home fans took to booing Brown, and he was even more of a sore thumb with the emergence of Andrew Bynum. So getting rid of Brown, a complete waste of a basketball player, was necessary for the Lakers front office.

Fortunately for Kobe Bryant, Gasol brings a solid -- if not somewhat soft -- post presence to fill the void until Bynum returns from injury. And once Bynum does get back, the frontcourt combo of him and Gasol could be one of the best in the West, and a reason to consider the Lakers a contender with the Spurs and Suns.

I still give the West to the Spurs -- they're merely bored and without Tony Parker at the moment -- but the Gasol trade makes the Lakers a serious contender.

Sign away!

Normally, National Signing Day barely registers on my sports radar, partly because of my distaste for college football. But this year will be different; with my alma mater, Old Dominion, starting a Division I-AA squad in 2009, the first crop of Monarch recruits will begin signing with the school on Wednesday.

And I'm getting excited.

Coach Bobby Wilder, a Maine alum, said from day one he would recruit from the graduating class of 2008 and redshirt everyone in preparation for the 2009 season. A good move, but not nearly as good as the fact that so many of the Monarchs' early commitments came from local talent.

Southeastern Virginia is littered with Div. I-AA schools -- Hampton, Norfolk State, William and Mary -- and the players who are solid I-A talent often go to Virginia or Virginia Tech. So for ODU to pull so many local kids into the fray right away makes a statement to the area, and a statement to Wilder's staff and its ability to recruit locally.

Consider the following local recruits (compiled from The Virginian-Pilot):

-T.J. Cowart, DB/Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach)
-Nick Mayers, WR/Landstown (Virginia Beach)
-Ricky Nichols, DB/Maury (Norfolk); the first ODU commitment
-Andrew Turner, DT-TE/Kellam (Virginia Beach)
-Charles Walls, DT/Tallwood (Virginia Beach); originally committed to Kent State and changed
-Reid Evans, WR-DB/Phoebus (Hampton)
-Devon Simmons, DB/Denbigh (Newport News)

Seven local commitments, not including the potential announcement Tuesday afternoon from Gloucester quarterback Tommy Raemon Jr. His announcement will come on WAVY TV 10 at 6:20 p.m.; the signal-caller will choose from Missouri, South Florida, Buffalo and ODU, according to the Daily Press.

His father, Tommy Raemon Sr., is the coach at Gloucester and was Michael Vick's high school coach at Warwick.

Gaining a local footing early is important to ODU's success, both on and off the field. College football in Virginia is crowded enough, so for the Monarchs to make a local impression over a year and half before their first game could go a long way in making sure this program is a success down the road.

No comments: