Thursday, September 24, 2009


Who does Roger Goodell think he is? Just read an article on that informed me of league-imposed blackouts of home games in Detroit and Oakland this weekend.


Get this: Because both teams "failed to sell all their tickets for Sunday's games by an NFL-imposed deadline."

I'll bet they're not blacked out on the NFL Network.

The NFL cannot be serious.

I couldn't care less about the Oakland Raiders or the Detroit Lions. But I do care about the fact that, in general, these people can't afford tickets.

Of the 20 U.S. cities with the highest unemployment rate, eight are located in Michigan and six are in California. According to the latest report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan's unemployment rate, at 15.2 percent, is by far the highest in America. California isn't too far behind. Its rate, 12.2 percent, is fifth highest.

All this does is prove that the self-imposed pay cut that the commissioner game himself this off season was a bunch of malarkey. These teams don't even deserve the support they do get. They're terrible. But as a lifelong fan of the New York Mets and Washington Redskins, I am well-aware of the toll it takes on a person to continually give their heart and soul to a disappointing franchise.

And while I have no idea what each the Lions' and Raiders' ticket and concession prices look like, I am willing to bet that they're not worth it.

This policy is a slap in the face, not just to fans in these two cities, but to every fan of the NFL.

So Rog, I have an idea: Why don't you put down all that money these fans are handing you for just a second, and use that shield (and some damn common sense) to protect them?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Atlas Shrugged

Just before Michael Jordan took the stage to make his Hall of Fame induction speech, I changed my Facebook status to: "Brandon Staton has been waiting his whole life for this speech ... ." And I had been. As a kid, I, like everyone else, idolized this guy. He could do no wrong -- until he took the stage.

Friday's Yahoo! Sports article by Adrian Wojnarowski busted MJ's balls. And if you saw the speech, it's easy to ascertain why. Rather than fill his spot with some quotable mastery, Jordan leaned more toward forgettable misery.

Still, Wojnarowski was harsh in his criticism. Jordan's life, especially his professional life, has followed that of a Greek tragedy. A hero on top of the world; a man with endless earthly possessions and a renowned fame that mortals only daydream about.

But as rare as it is that a talent like his comes along, the mindset necessary to obtain such excellence is a mystery in itself. Very intelligent people spend their professional lives trying to figure out what's different about the mind of a serial killer, a genius, a manic despressive. The brain chemistry of a man like Michael Jordan is one in a billion, and no one can expect to understand with any certainty what makes greatness tick any more than what makes a killer kill, an equation click or the grip on reality slip away.

Very few of us know what it's like to be great. We so admire greatness that we don't want to associate reality with it. We hope that it's great, always.

I saw Michael Jordan play with the Bulls in 1998, when Chicago finished the year with an NBA single-season record of 72-10. It was the only chance I ever had. I was 13, and I remember being disappointed when I left the Georgia Dome because Jordan only scored 34 points. I wanted 50, 60 ... 80.

I wanted greatness.

After that speech, I sat and thought about it for awhile, and I wondered what it must be like to do something better than anyone ever has and it still not be good enough.

I invite you, and Mr. Wojnarowski, to think about that, too.

Michael Jordan earned the right to say whatever he wanted when he took the stand to take his rightful place among the greatest in the game. Still, as a fan, it's fair to say that Jordan's speech was a disappointment.

But don't let that dilute the fact that his career was anything but.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Board is back

Class starts Tuesday. Not sure if I mentioned already or not, but I'm taking a blogging class. That could mean only one thing:

The return of this pointless blog!

Interestingly, I saw a friend a couple weeks ago for the first time in a while. "I love reading your blog," she said.

"You must really read it a lot," I replied. "Because I haven't updated it in a month."

But as you can see, the demand is overwhelming. And with the college sports season gearing up again, I figured I might as well dump my opinions into the Web for the world to see, so like Brett Favre, Jay-Z, MJ and all the other greats before me, today I am announcing my return for blog-retirement.

I'm trying something a little different this year. I've created a twitter account for the blog. @OffensiveBoard is where you'll find the latest updates and perhaps an occasional twitpic, whenever I figure out how to use that.

More exciting news; some good, some bad. I have a camera now! That's the good news. The bad? Well, the charger is already missing. So as soon as I round one up, we'll try to make this already outstanding Internet destination a little more exciting.

One last thing. The Offensive Board is kind of a crappy name, don't you think? I'm thinking about tweeting Chad Ocho Cinco and asking him for some ideas, but if one of you would like to chime in, feel free.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Obviously you're not a golfer..."

Played golf today. Not sure why. Though I am a terrible and often frustrated golfer, I did find some satisfaction today in the form of a 52 on the front nine. And that was with two eight's on my scorecard. With darkness approaching, my friend (whom I will not name to protect the fact that he is twice as bad at golf as I am) made the turn to bludgeon our self-esteem for a few more holes before wising up and calling it quits...

First hole, par four: Six.

Second hole, par three: Six (I think).

Third hole, par four: Five.

Fourth hole, par four: One!

Yep, one -- on a par four! That's because I hit the tee shot about like you would expect Miguel Tejada to hit an outside fastball at Minute Maid Park (does Tejada hit left-handed? If not, then that analogy won't exactly make sense, but we'll roll with it anyway). My only goal was to crush it, and I did ... way left. Over the trees, with enough hang time for the following dialogue to take place:

Brandon: "Dude, that is all over a house."

The protected: "Is it?"

Brandon: "Listen..."


Golf ball [upon contact with roof]: "BAM!"

Brandon: "OK man, we're outta here."

The protected: "Come on, I'm sure their house gets hit all the time."

Brandon: "Not like that. And even if it does, that doesn't mean they like it."

The protected: "It's summer and they live at a country club. Relax, they're probably on vacation."

Brandon: "Very valid point. But we're leaving."

[End dialogue]

And that was that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Don't worry, I'm still here

Well, it's been a couple of months. Sorry. I successfully have completed two sessions of summer school, and the strangest thing happened. My GPA improved. Weird. Anyhow, I plan to be getting back at it here at TOB. I'll be taking a class about blogging in the Fall, so let's hope that makes this blog more interesting. As far as anything interesting to put here, I have nothing.

My professor asked in class the other day if anyone in the class blogged. Not sure why I actually admitted to it, but I did. I was the only one. He was asking a question about adsense.

"How much do you make on adsense, about $100 a month?"

I laughed. I've had this blog since January 2008, and I had like $42 when Google determined that I could no longer keep my adsense account because of the clicking patterns associated with it. They repaid that handsome sum back to the advertisers. Thanks for nothing.

More to follow.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bobby Frasor? Well, he's no Erin Andrews, but I guess he'll do.

Well, my life has been so boring lately that I haven't so much as heard of anything worth blogging about. So I'll share this video that was sent to me by a soon-to-be professor. Most of you have probably seen this by now, but for those who haven't, enjoy.

It won't let me save the video, so you'll have to click the link, sorry.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Play ball

Not sure how many of you know this, but for the past few summers I have spent several nights a week pilfering through the happenings of the American Association and Can-Am League, two independent minor-league baseball leagues spread throughout the Midwest, Northeast and, you guessed it, Canada. If you have ever heard of the St. Paul Saints, and you probably haven't, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's generally the final resting place for former big leaguers like Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, Darryl Strawberry and even, it appears, Eric Gagne, who has signed with the Quebec Capitales of the Can-Am League, and will fill a spot in their starting rotation of all places.

Sometimes the leagues can serve as a stop for players like Luke Hochevar, and their agents (Scott Boras, shocker), who feel that $2.98 million just isn't quite enough. Hochevar was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round (No. 40 overall) of the 2005 draft, but couldn't come to terms on a contract, hence opting for a stint with the Fort Worth Cats of the American Association before re-entering in 2006 where he was selected No. 1 overall by the Kansas City Royals. The move turned out to be a good one for Hochevar and friends. His signing bonus increased to $5.3 million and incentives made his deal worth as much as $7 million.But both examples aside, these leagues, and all independent leagues, are places where people find themselves if they just plain love baseball. The money is scarce, the glory is absent and the travel accommodations are a nightmare. But tucked away in random cities and towns are teams who play baseball, plain and simple, and fans who love to watch. Each year, a few teams come and a few teams go. So it wasn't until the Can-Am opened its season tonight that I heard about this interesting team in Nashua, New Hampshire, a small liberal town about 40 miles north of Boston. Though the team is largely unknown, it has a rich history. In the late 1940s, the Nashua Dodgers' lineup card featured the likes of Roy Campanella behind the plate, and Don Newcombe on the mound - a far cry from the likes of the aforementioned, if you ask me.

Yet, even that isn't what has impressed me the most; what has given me hope for baseball. No, it's just their name: The American Defenders of New Hampshire. Complete with camouflage uniforms, they look like a cross between the USA baseball team and the San Diego Padres during spring training. But don't be fooled. This isn't some military stunt to draw sympathy. There is history behind this team - and plenty of it. It's just nice to know that baseball still exists. Real baseball. And the whole military theme just gives one the impression, if playing for nothing didn't already, that these guys are just happy to have the chance - and appreciative of those who have enable them to have one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Knock, knock, knock: Housekeeping!

Yeah ... someone break out the broom.

I just wanted to get this out there before the series got started. The Magic and Cavavliers are about to tip off, LeBron James just tossed up the Johnson&Johnson, and I've got the Cavs in four. About the only person that seems to be remotely on board with me for this one is PTI co-host Tony Kornheiser, who took Cleveland in five. I don't understand why people think that Orlando can hang. The only way that Dwight Howard gets involved, and I mean really gets involved, is if the Magic are hitting from outside. This forces opposing defenses to honor their shooters (Rashard Lewis just clanked a three somethin' awful on the Magic's first field goal attempt) and not pack the lane.

To me, they just haven't proven able to do that consistently enough, especially in the face of defenses as good as Cleveland. Plus, the Cavs are underrated in terms of the bodies they throw at Howard (Jesus, Dwight just threw down a dunk so hard that he broke the freakin' shot clock!) in the paint. Guys like Joe Smith and Ben Wallace are completely inferior to the athleticism of Howard, but are veterans nontheless, making them affable at handling a player that has yet to prove that he can dominate if things aren't necessarily going his way.

Then, of course, there is LeBron James. James is the best player in the league and has undeniably been the best player in the playoffs. And unlike Howard, James does not feed off of his teammates. Rather, they feed off of him. And no player left in the playoffs is better at getting his team involved. Anyway, not really a lot to say, just wanted to get out there on the line and take the Cavs in a sweep.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's in the baggage: Kentucky gets Wall, "advisor"

Finally this kid announced what has been known for a couple of weeks now. John Wall will play of John Calipari at Kentucky next season. Part of me wishes that he had landed at Duke. Mark my words, John Wall is an NCAA violation waiting to happen. Though, admittedly, these issues seem to fall by the wayside wherever big stars are concerned, such a blemish on Duke University would have been a nice card to have in our hand. Questions surrounding the likes of O.J. Mayo, Reggie Bush and, most recently, Nate Miles have been suffieciently swept under the rug after a week or so of initial media hype in each case.

But Brian Clifton, the "advisor" to Wall is a storm on the horizon, the way I see it, for the NCAA. Google "Brian Clifton D-One coach" and you won't find a single picture of the man himself, but you'll get plenty of John Wall. Now, I'm not stupid. I know these kids have their guys. The benefits of being a college athlete abound, and the better you are, the more lucrative, and invincible, those benefits seem to be. It happens everywhere, from North Carolina to North Dakota. But, until now, it is rarely advertised. Clifton is trouble for this kid, and everyone knows it. John Wall wanted to play for Calipari all along, and was said by a source close to the situation to have decided on Kentucky weeks ago, after severing ties from Memphis when Calipari departed. Yet, as late as last week, there are reports that Wall went as far as making an informal commitment to Miami. It has been reported that if Clifton got his way, Wall would be a Blue Devil. North Carolina was rumored to show interest and schools that didn't even make any sense, like N.C. State and Baylor, were also part of the equation.

If anyone understands the distaste between Duke and North Carolina, it's me - and probably any of you who are reading this. But to let that get in the way of a decision as big as this one - especially when that decision isn't even yours to make? Clifton was quoted by N&O as follows: "I have no desire to talk to, to be involved with, to visit, to contemplate in any shape, form or fashion John Wall going to play for Roy Williams. Zero."

He told 850 The Buzz: “I don’t have any respect for Roy Williams. I encourage [my players] to play for guys that will inspire them to be good people. If you’re not a good person, you can’t make someone a good person.”

Memphis' graduation rate, had Wall gone there, was 55 percent.

Kentucky, where Wall is headed, pumps out graduates at a whopping rate of 38 percent.

North Carolina? Eighty-six percent.

The last time I checked, education is a pretty good gauge as to which programs promote character and integrity in this country. But it's not like John Wall will ever graduate anyway. From the outside looking in, Clifton's way of doing seems to parallel that of an agent. A really stupid agent. So the more the NCAA allows soap operas like this one to play out, the more the NCAA will parallel that of the NBA. Is he in it for the good of his "client?"

"Good people" certainly wouldn't be in it for the pay day, would they? And I am willing to bet that Brian Clifton is not as involved with his other players' college decisions as is with the kid that just so happens to be the next big thing.

You be the judge, since the NCAA, it appears, will not be.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Smile Duke and State fans! You have something to cheer about!

Well, I bailed on the Economics class. No surprise there. Don't worry, though, I'm still rockin' out Spanish 102, so I'll keep you posted on the state of my voyage toward bilingual-ism.

Anyway, back to sports. I am currently at work, and just now got the link on 99.9's Web site to work. As soon as the I hear the dude's voice, he's calling a Boston Bruins' goal to tie the game at 6:19. It's 2-2 now. Another exciting game. Funny that excitement was the intended topic of this post anyhow. (Just heard Ric Flair go "Woooooooo" in the background following the Bruins' goal. Isn't it funny how the Bostonians took that from us?) I mean, think about it. Hockey? In North Carolina? I don't know about you, but I've spent half my life in the Tidewater region of Virginia, and the rest of it on the coast of North Carolina. I've never even seen a frozen pond, that I know of. And if I have, my parents sure as hell weren't about to let me skate on it. Yet here I am, cursing at a computer for the last hour because it wouldn't load the feed to the game.

Full disclosure: I hate bandwaggon fans. With that said, I'm 100-percent on the Carolina Hurricanes' bandwaggon - or Zamboni, if you will. Now, I've gotten into it before, the last time the Hurricanes were somebody. Got to hold the Stanley Cup, and have a picture to prove it:
But this year really seems to be different. You don't have to know anything about hockey specifically to know that the Hurricanes' run to the playoffs and their performance there thusfar is impressive. They are certainly the underdog, which everyone outside Boston has gotta love. Then, they used the Bruins like a whipping post for the first few games, only to let a 3-1 series lead fade to its current 3-3. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that hockey really has what we all really want. It's like a hybrid of baseball, soccer, football and professional wrestling. Even has a touch of a little Ron-Artestian NBA.

The Hurricanes themselves have what a fan of any sport wants in its team, too. (4:48 to go in regulation. Still 2-2.) There is superstar Eric Staal. Fan favorites like Cam Ward and Rod Brind'Amour and a dude named Jussi Jokinen. More importantly for the triangle reason, it gives N.C. State and Duke fans something to cheer for. Finally, I don't have to hear them whine for once. And if the 'Canes don't make it, I'll be right there with them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"I'm not sure how well I speak English."

Yep. That is a direct quote from my Economics professor. Not exactly the first thing you want to hear - on your third trip through the same course. But still, here I am, flabbergasted. Fatma Gunay. She says that we'll never be able to pronounce her last name, so just call her "Fatma." OK. At least I'm not the only one here who looks puzzled. As a matter of fact, everyone does. Yet I somehow get the feeling that most of them will easily pass. My only hope at this point appears to be the fact that the syllabus says that a 40 or better will get me at least a "D." Hopefully that's not a mistake with the language. I'll step outside the sports realm to keep you posted on my progess. She's giving an example now and five hands just shot up. There are like 30 people in the class, so that's not good. I better pay attention!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oh Manny

There are few whose words I take as the gospel truth. Peter Gammons is one of those few. So when Gammons said a few minutes ago, on ESPN's SportsCenter, that he genuinely believes that Manny Ramirez is not a steroids guy, I believe him. Ramirez, the Los Angeles Times reports, has been suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball for violating the league's anti-drug policy. According to Gammons, and a statement released by Ramirez through the Players' Association, Ramirez received a prescription for a "personal medical condition" from a doctor in Florida, and that medication contained a substance banned by MLB. Manny also said in his statement that he has taken and passed "about 15" tests during the past five seasons.

Sure, one has to walk cautiously with all the lies, the "but I didn't know"'s, the whole blame game. And Ramirez is far from a saint as many are concerned. I saw Manny Ramirez playing right field for the Cleveland Indians in 1999 at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Md. He was much younger then. The dreads were in their infant stages - a small Afro. He wore his pants pulled up to the knee, rather than down, over his cleats. And I remember as if it were yesterday that Ramirez had the biggest calf muscles I have ever seen. From atop the scoreboard in right field, it looked like he had softballs packed into his socks.

I'll make one thing clear. I am a huge, HUGE Manny Ramirez fan. In my opinion, he is the best hitter of our time, and maybe the best two-strike hitter the game has ever seen. But in the back of my mind, that image of those unreal, super-human calf muscles in 1999 have often made me wonder if there was more to the story than a whole lot of leg raises. Maybe it's the baggy uniform, but Ramirez seems to have ballooned since his early days - just like McGwire, just like Sosa, just like Bonds. And at the same rate, so have Manny's numbers - just like McGwire, just like Sosa, just like Bonds.

I was always concerned that Manny Ramirez would find himself in the middle of this steroid-era pandemic. But no one has mentioned Ramirez in any book. He's not in the Mitchell Report. He's never tested positive. For that reason, it's people like Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Plaschke that really piss me off. He's on SportsCenter right now, jumping the gun, calling for Ramirez's head. But unfortunately, he might be right. But for now, I'm going with Gammons and believing Manny. But I'm afraid this might be the last time I'm able to give a baseball player the benefit of the doubt.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"The Birdman" is the word, man.

If you know me, you know I'm a baseball guy. For me, this is baseball season. The NBA playoffs, the PGA, the NHL playoffs, the NFL draft ... that stuff is secondary entertainment. But these days there are fewer and fewer baseball games on television, leaving me to drift a bit from my comfort zone and pay a little more attention to the fore-mentioned events. Like right now. I'm watching Game 1 of the series between the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks. Yeah, seriously. Not that I care who wins, but I always have to pick somebody. In this case it's Denver. George Karl is a Carolina guy; J.R. Smith should have been. Chauncey Billups is just a guy that you can't help rooting for. Carmelo Anthony is an Oak Hill alum, and that's where my grandmother graduated from in 1950 - long before the desolate high school became a breeding ground for NBA superstars-to-be.

Then there is Chris Andersen. This time a few years ago, I was crowing about what a clown this guy is. This dude dropped out of Houston and played one year at Blinn College before not getting drafted and ending up in China. Somehow he wound up in the NBA at some point after and was invited to the NBA All-Star Weekend in 2005 (he was also there in 2004) where he proceeded to embarrassed himself, and the the NBA. You may remember Andersen, also known as "Birdman", missing the first eight attempts at his first dunk, then clanking the first five attempts at his second. As it turned out, whiffing dunks in front of a national audience was the least of this guy's problems. In January of 2006, Andersen was suspended from the NBA for violating the league's anti-drug policy by testing positive for a banned substance. That substance was not identified, but was known not to be performance-enhancing drugs or marijuana. The substance was categorized under "drugs of abuse" leading The Denver Post to peg Andersen as "the most disgraced NBA player since the drug-induced haze of the 1980's." The article didn't say anything about how his grandfather abused him as a child, or how he was estranged from his mother. He and his long-time girlfriend broke things off when he arrived in New Orleans and Andersen lost his house in Hurricane Katrina.

It took him until March of 2008 to gain reinstatement into the NBA. Shortly thereafter, he found himself released by the New Orleans Hornets and signed to a one-year deal with the Nuggets. And now, in May 2009 I am watching this guy be a serious contributor on one of the most exciting team's in the NBA. Andersen, a shot-block specialist, looks like a moron. His hair is ridiculous and his excessive tattoos make him look like a hip-hop wannabe. At least that's what I used to think. It appears that this guy has made an effort to clean himself up and turn his life around. So every time he hype the crowd with his trademark wing flap - even though he looks more like a rooster than a bird that can actually fly - I sit here and love every second of it. If you have the ability to look in the mirror one day and muster enough courage to make those kind of changes, what difference does it make what you look like? If you're a Chris Andersen hater, just know that I used to be too. But the truth of the matter is, he is one hell of a basketball player. And it may not look like he has much sense, but he apparently had enough to do the right thing.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This is what I have on draft

It has always intrigued me, as a college basketball enthusiast, how interested we can become in players' draft statuses once the NCAA champion is crowned. Granted, part of the hysteria has to do with whether or not a team will return its stars, or if they will gallivant off to the NBA leaving their respective coaches delirious and their former teams depleted.

Perhaps the fever has to do with fans and their incessant need for a ranking system. Much like the relatively meaningless AP and coaches polls during the regular season, we take these strangers' opinions as the gospel truth. Much of the same holds true with the NBA draft with but one difference. After the NBA draft is over, no one cares.

Then again, there's always next year, as they say. The departure of the championship class of 2005 is still fresh in the minds of Tar Heel fans. And though the NCAA championship is every team's ultimate goal, there is only so long that they can actually enjoy it before the realization sets in that this ain't last year anymore.

In '05, North Carolina had one of the best classes of all time. Maybe the best - I'm not sure how many teams have sent four lottery picks to the NBA. There to follow in their footsteps was a class that consisted of Bobby Frasor, Marcus Ginyard, Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green. Not bad. The thing that Tar Heel fans have to remember is that hindsight is 20/20. It's easy, from their prospective, to compare the incoming 2009 class to that one. But in reality, it's not that easy. Think about that class for what it was then, not what it turned out to be. Injuries to Frasor and Ginyard dampen the hype that surrounded them as freshmen. Yes, John Henson will be good. As good as Hansbrough? We'll likely never know, because it is doubtful that he'll be here long enough for use to figure that out.

Looking back, that 2005 class sure doesn't look as sexy as this one does. But it had all the parts. A capable point guard, a great defender, and inside presence and a versatile scorer. More importantly, it had parts that would stay in place for awhile. It isn't often that a coach hits the nail on the head. You don't just plug in a class of basketball players and proceed to march through March. You see Frasor's weaknesses and sign a Ty Lawson. You see that Ginyard isn't going to be the same scorer he was in high school and you sign a Wayne Ellington. And if you're good enough, you see that Duke is trying to sign a monster in the paint, so you intervene and sign a Brandan Wright.

At the moment, it seems that the Tar Heel faithful are more concerned with John Wall than they a hypochondriac Texan is with the swine flu. Yet, I wonder personally how concerned even Roy Williams is with him. The kid seems to be taking every school interested on a carnival ride. And if UNC does land him, then losing three more players to the NBA in 2010 (Ed Davis, Henson and Wall) is a very real possibility. Is Wall the key to hitting that nail on the head?

Recruiting is a different game these days. It's not necessarily about raking in the big guns. Kevin Durant + Greg Oden + O.J. Mayo + Blake Griffin = Lots of money, zero championships. That brings me back to the draft. It's funny how recruiting is just the beginning of the circle. Are we college basketball fans, or NBA fans? Most of us really don't even know. Tyler Hansbrough left the NCAA with a ring, and a reputation as one of the best players in the history of college basketball. And detractors argue that he won't make it in the NBA. But, of course, after the draft no one will care anyway. So why does it matter?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

There's no base like home

To steal that is. So imagine my excitement when Boston Red Sox OF Jacoby Ellsbury (who is on my fantasy baseball team, by the way) dashed toward the plate with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth. By the time Yankees' pitcher Andy Pettite let go of the ball, Ellsbury was three-quarters of the way there and, though he nearly fell flat on his face feet short of home, managed to slide in safely. His antics provided us with the most exciting play in baseball - if not in all of sports. I have conversations with friends on what feels like a daily basis about how boring they think baseball is. And I've come to understand that, though I adamently assure them that baseball is in fact awesome, it takes patience to appreciate it. Patience that 99 percent of people don't have.

We all drive 80 mph down I-40. We get pissed when the speed of our "high-speed internet" is not high enough. We can't stand waiting for that damn lady to stop talking so that we can check our voicemail. And heaven forbid if the fries that complete our No. 4 at whatever drive-thru are going to take a couple extra minutes. Yes, patience is a virtue. And if we all had a little more of it, I think people would be a little more fond of baseball. Because, as in life, if you would just chill out and slow down, you might just stumble across something that will make you glad you did.

Sorry, I'm a purist.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

There is a God!

Well, well, well. Looks like they finally got one right. I was a little hasty to say that they haven't gotten one right since Champ Bailey. There have been a few good ones, Sean Taylor in particular. It just seems that the bad outweigh the good when it comes to the Redskins and the NFL Draft. No such misfortune this year, though, as the perfect pick fell all the way to No. 13, and right into the Redskins' lap. Brian Orakpo (DE - Texas) is exactly what the team needs. After signing free agent Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year, $100 million deal it was evident that the Skins were out to shore up their pass rush. With the addition of Orakpo, we can consider that hole plugged.

The guy is a freak of nature. His speed and athleticism are overshadowed only by his strength - Orakpo bench pressed 515 pounds. I've heard whispers that he's not good enough to play DE right away in the NFL. I think that's nonsense, but I have to keep in mind that I do the majority of my scouting from the couch. I do know that he has been deemed versitile enough to play linebacker. Regardless of where he lines up, he has the ability to get in the pocket and raise hell. I personally think they go ahead and put him on the line. Haynesworth should draw plenty of attention, and the pair should thrive off teams that might have an answer to one or the other, but not both.

I'm thoroughly please, as a fan, with the outlook of the team's new defense, but understand that their offense is still God-awful. Hopefully last years crop of receivers has matured enough to at least see the field this season. They went into the draft last year in need of wide receivers. Again, they made an attempt to address that need. They made a good move to move out of the first round and into the second and were still able to land one of the best receivers available in Devin Thomas. They followed by picking up a solid tight end in Fred Davis, but overlooked DeSean Jackson in favor of another touted WR in Malcom Kelly whom they selected No. 51 - two spots after Jackson was nabbed by Philadelphia. That Redskins' trio really shook things up, combining to amass 21 catches for a jaw-dropping 165 yards. All Jackson did was catch 62 balls for 912 yards and two touchdowns. To be fair, it's not like any of the three got much of a shot, which I'm hoping would suggest that increasing their roles this season will be a focal point in training camp.

Regardless, the Redskins were headed into 2009 with two questions - pass protection and pass rush. You can scratch the rush. If these guys can't get to the quarterback now, then there is no hope.

With the rest of their picks, it is imperative that the Redskins shop for offensive line help. Not only is their line suspect, it's old. So for now I'll just try to keep in mind that they can't fix everything at one time. And it's been a long time since the first round of the draft left me just plain feeling good. So I'll take it.

T-minus four hours to disappointment

So I'm sitting here contemplating whether or not to start beating my head against a wall. This draft time of 4 p.m. EST is rough because it means ESPN has a few extra hours to regurgitate the same information that it has had since the BCS Championship. The only things I care about are what the Redskins do, first and foremost, and where North Carolina players like Hakeem Nicks, Richard Quinn and Brandon Tate land. The only thing more absurd than this extensive coverage is the fact that the Lions paid Matthew Stafford $41 million guaranteed. If I were one of the six Lions fans in America, I would be terrified. The last 10 quarterbacks to be selected No. 1 overall are as follows:

2007 - JaMarcus Russell
2005 - Alex Smith
2004 - Eli Manning
2003 - Carson Palmer
2002 - David Carr
2001 - Michael Vick
1999 - Tim Couch
1998 - Peyton Manning
1993 - Drew Bledsoe
1990 - Jeff George

Take the Mannings out of that list and you've got a grand total of nine Pro Bowls (Bledsoe, 4; Vick, 3; Palmer, 2) which amounts to a hill of beans, three busts, one incarceration and zero Super Bowls.

I'm pretty sure that only five quarterbacks that were drafted No. 1 overall have ever won the Super Bowl (Manning, Manning, Aikman, Elway and Bradshaw). As a Redskins fan, I think I have a pretty good understanding of why. It's looking like the Skins are pretty hot after Mark Sanchez (QB - USC). The have a perfectly compitent QB in Jason Campbell, a capable backup in Todd Collins and a 2008 pick invested in Colt Brennan. What they don't have is anyone to protect them, aside from Chris "If you can't block 'em, hold 'em" Samuels. It doesn't really matter who you are if you don't have any time to throw the football. Maybe they'll draft Sanchez and trade Campbell for some OL help. But they'll probably just keep all of them. Why? Because that would be the one thing that doesn't make any sense - and that's what the Redskins are famous for.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ellington, Lawson Bid Farwell

It came as no surprise that North Carolina guards Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington announced Thursday that they will make the jump to the NBA. Well, no surprise to most of us. Ellington's commitment obviously quelled the whisper of that eternal Tar Heel optimist that we all know - all the guys out there that said he might come back because he can't play defense. Nonsense. There are few, if any, in the NCAA who have seen their stock rise more than Wayne Ellington in 2009. Needless to say, both made the right decision. In watching the press conference it was easy to see that Roy Williams was at peace with their decision. That's important when you think back to a year ago, when it became pretty public that there was some dissension in the air regarding the Tar Heels' inner circle and NBA draft statuses.

As we see currently with ESPN force-feeding us Mel Kiper, pre-draft predictions are fun in small doses. But as we inch closer to June it will get annoying, no doubt about it. That said, we'll go ahead and look ahead before we get to that point. has Ellington going in the lottery - No. 11 to the Nets. Another mock has Lawson in that spot and Ellington at No. 30 to the Cavaliers. To me, it just emphasizes how silly it is to think that we have any clue, but I guess it's fun to guess. I think Detroit could be a good spot for Lawson, although I know that he's not a big fan of the city. I don't know how much that might weigh into his decision to sign with them, but it's a tidbit nonetheless. As for Ellington, Phoenix seems perfect. Ellington is better defensively than people give him credit for. Help-defense is an afterthought in the NBA, and his long arms make him a formidable defense presence in 1-on-1 situations, though height (Ellington is listed at 6-foot-4) could become an issue. Still, a team like the Suns would allow him to make the most of his obvious strength - offense.

Regardless, both have lottery potential. It's no guarantee, and the way the chips are likely to fall, it seems kind of a long shot at this point that both land in the top 14. For now, we'll all have to wait until they at least get a workout in before we all claim to have it figured out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A few clerical notes

There will be a more substantive post to come later tonight. For now, I thought I'd share with you a few networking pieces that I've added to the puzzle that is my presence on the Web.

Twitter me: thassumbs (Lehman's terms: "That's some B.S." - a play on my initials)

LinkedIn: Just created an account on LinkedIn and was surprised to find how many people are already on. Sent out invites to 30 people. If any readers are members, feel free to add me, Brandon Staton. If you're not on board, you should check out the site. It seems like a good way to connect.

And lastly, on the Twitter note, I'm trying to add Twitter to the blog, so that those of you who would like to follow, can. But everytime I try to "Add Widget" it loads and stays on the same screen, leaving The Offensive Board just as boring as it was before. If any of you are familiar with how to make this magic happen, please comment with your version of "Running Your Own Blog For Dummies."

That's all for now. Be back soon, thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Greg Paulus? Seriously?

Ok, so this news had me Googling (sp?) to find out who the GM of the Green Bay Packers is faster than the team's fan base must be doing the same to find a replacement for him. I mean seriously - who in the world could possibly think that Greg freakin' Paulus could play quarterback in the NFL. This is like the most unintelligent news I've heard in a very, very long time. And I don't want to hear all this well-coming-out-of-high-school-Greg-Paulus-was-the-No. 1-quarterback-in-the-nation bologna. Who cares? Our boy Cam Sexton was what, No. 6 ... No. 7? And he proceeded to come to college and actually play football, not stand in the lane and wait for various scortums to be deposited into his mouth (pictured). So, Ted Thompson, since you are clearly paying attention to little that might lead you toward intelligent and informed decisions regarding your football team - like ones that might actually land your team in the playoffs - just look at this picture. You see Peyton Manning there? He's the first fan to the left of Kyle Singler's hip, and happens to have a reputation as a pretty good quarterback. See him? Ok. Now. Does his ass look impressed? No. And neither will your fans now that you've allowed this laughable tryout to take place.

In all seriousness, I just don't see how this has happened. I really don't even know what to say. You can read the article and decide for yourself. I, for one, promise to completely delete this blog if Greg Paulus ever throws a pass in a regular-season NFL game.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Michigan Statement

Well, it may not have been easy, but it sure looked that way. North Carolina's 89-72 win against Michigan State in Detroit last night gave the program its fifth National Championship and put an end to questions from critics everywhere. Roy Williams' ability to win the big game, the Tar Heels ability to play defense, depth ... all kinds of nonsense were exposed as just that. The closest game UNC found itself in during the tournament was 12, and that game (a 72-60 win against Oklahoma) wasn't even that close. North Carolina led by double digits for some ungodly number of minutes in the tournament and actually played from behind in less than 11 minutes. Any hopes that UNC fans had of Wayne Ellington sticking around are gone. The tournament's Most Oustanding Player, to me, proved his NBA worth and is likely to be a first round pick. Thankfully for the Tar Heels, freshman Ed Davis has said that he will return to school. Assuming he stands on that comment, North Carolina will begin next year with a front-runner for the national player of the year in the frontcourt. And that's always a nice piece to rebuild around. With the return of Marcus Ginyard, Deon Thompson, Tyler Zeller and Larry Drew III, coupled with the No. 1 recruiting class in the America, you have to think that the Final Four is an attainable goal.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Sorry for not posting in a while. I know that you are all clamoring the site for pertinent information regarding the senselessness that is my life. I, however, have the flu and am too weak to type. Check back this weekend, though, when I will muster the energy to comment on the glory that is Carolina basketball.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Parcells to visit UNC

Miami Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Bill Parcells will make a trip to Chapel Hill tomorrow to have a look at former North Carolina football stars Hakeem Nicks and Richard Quinn. Nicks' name has bounced around mock draft boards and the Tar Heels' all-time leading receiver is certain to land in the first round. Quinn, on the other hand has managed to fly under the radar for many experts. But one look at his 6-foot-4-inch, 260-pound frame and you can't help but think that he's worth a look. Apparently Parcells does, anyway. And he's not the only one. Quinn has been courted by several NFL teams including the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. Currently, it seems that Quinn is targeted around the fifth-round. But his stock seems to be rising very quickly.

Nicks, on the other hand, couldn't see his stock get much higher after he posted a sub-4.5 40 at the combine earlier this year, but then had some scouts concerned when the 6-foot WR showed up at the University of North Carolina Pro Day 14 pounds heaver - 226 lbs. Regardless, Nicks stood on his 40 time and, to me, seems a great fit with several teams - mainly Indianapolis, the New York Giants, and Minnesota.

I don't even want to hear it

The Dookies are already starting. Excuses for why they got blown out just don't exist this time. No refs, no ifs, no ands, no buts. The defense played by Villanova was the best I've ever seen, period. Every single time down the court, the 'Cats were absolutely hounding the ball - for 40 minutes. Duke's glaring defect of having zero transition game finally caught up with them. So did the fact that they don't have as many stars as people think they do. Gerald Henderson is legit ... well, was legit. He'll be a lottery pick in the draft, so good luck replacing the only threat you've got, Mike. Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler cannot take a game over. The two get so much credit for being great scorers, but they cannot create for themselves - a cornerstone of most (most, because J.J. Redick couldn't create either) great scorers. Luckily they're part of an offense that creates for them. But as we saw last night, when all else fails, you have to be able to look into the teeth of a good defense and find a way to score, especially if you cannot beat a team downcourt and keep them from setting up. Every team from here on out has players that are capable of that, and most are good in transition. That's the difference between being able to win 30 games, or whatever, in the regular season, and being able to win six in the NCAA tournament.

Mike Krzyzweski may have done as good a job as he ever has to get this year's Duke team as far as he did, and it takes a lot for me to compliment the guy. He really is a great coach, but you can't coach what you don't have. And from the tip, the Blue Devils really didn't have a chance.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Fantasy Baseball Roster

I owned this draft. Enough said. My roster is as follows:

C - Matt Iannetta
1B - Derek Lee
2B - Dan Uggla
3B - Jorge Cantu
SS - Hanley Ramirez
OF - Adam Dunn
OF - Ichiro Suzuki
OF - Jacoby Ellsbury
Util - Carlos Delgado

Bench: Pat Burrell, Jim Thome, Michael Bourn, Matt LaPorta

SP - Tim Lincecum
SP - Josh Beckett
RP - Brian Wilson
RP - Troy Percival
P - Max Scherzer
P - Edinson Volquez
P - Jair Jurrjens

Bench: Jeff Samardzija

Talk to you all in September when I'm crowned champion.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I guess I should be ashamed of myself...

... but can anyone tell me what is going on with this Anoop guy? I know he's from Chapel Hill. I know he's rockin' American Idol. But the only reason I know either of these truths is because the kid seems to be a Facebook icon. I mean, ain't nobody texting in votes for me to graduate. And let's be honest, I've been working on that a hell of a lot longer than this guy has been on the show. Didn't he already get kicked off? And now he's back? How does that work? I haven't watched AI more than a couple of times since William Hung signed a million-dollar record deal. That, and the fact that I cannot sing, pissed me off enough to decide, once and for all, that I was done with such nonsense. Now, it seems, I'm missing the boat on something pretty cool. I know that several of my friends are (or claim to be) friends with him, maybe even a few of you readers. But it would serve me, and my blog, well if you would post comments that might direct me toward a clue.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Three weeks ago, I posted that LeBron was better than Michael. And behold, thinks so too! (They must be reading my blog). Just wanted all of you to know that I wasn't completely full of crap.

And by the way, why is everyone voting for UConn. as the first No. 1 seed out of the tournament? Have you been watching? Is it because you think Purdue is going to beat them? If that's the case, then God, I hope you're not betting on these games...

Earth to Brandon Costner...

The NBA Draft? Are you serious? Kevin Costner has a better chance of getting drafted this year. Not to be deterred however, N.C. State's Brandon Costner announced yesterday that he will forgo his senior season. He's fresh off a season in which he averaged 13.6 points per game. That's not enough to even crack the top 20 in the ACC. He was 17th in the conference in rebounding, with six per. Both of those numbers are about even with his career averages. Considering his freshman season, maybe I'm being a little harsh, but not very. Someone might draft this guy - under the condition that he gets "D-League" tattooed on his forehead. The mock drafts that I've seen have North Carolina's Danny Green as a late second round pick. To me, that would put Costner somewhere in the fifth round ... which, of course, does not exist. That presents a problem. If Costner were smart, which he is (he'll earn his degree in Communications in May), he would test the waters overseas. In what seemed to be a popular trend last season, Costner could head to Europe for awhile to work on his consistency, and actually get paid for it. If he decides to go the NBA route, there is just no way, based on what he's showed so far, that he is going to magically become a consistent presence over the course of an 82-game season. I'm not hating on the guy ... really. I like Costner's game, or his potential game anyway. But for right now, this jump doesn't seem to make much sense.

Monday, March 23, 2009

So Far, Toe Good

My bracket is hanging in there, and so are the Tar Heels. Honestly, I didn't get to see much of either game North Carolina played this weekend. Ordinarily, I would seriously consider taking a temporary leave of absence in order to assure myself the opportunity to plant myself on the couch and yell at the television each weekend of March, but given the state of the economy, I guess I better do my best to keep my job. That said, I think, going into the LSU game, that it didn't make a whole lot of sense to play Lawson. I guess that's why they pay Roy and not me. A loss to the Tigers looked likely in hindsight had he not played. Lawson's 21 in the second half bailed out UNC and moved the team to Memphis for the Sweet 16. Back in Chapel Hill after the game, Lawson was back in the boot, but walking around without a noticeable limp. He appeared to be OK, though I'm sure he was given some medicine to ease any swelling or pain following his courageous showing in Greensboro.

The way things almost turned out, though, Lawson's play wouldn't have been the only break the Tar Heels got. The Zags looked iffy against Western Kentucky. Likely that will not be the case next Friday when they square off with North Carolina. In fact, it won't be easy at all for UNC should they get past Gonzaga, as they'll continue to run into teams with good guard play the rest of the way, making Lawson more important to the team than he has ever been in his entire career - and he's been awfully important. It is imperative that UNC has Lawson to counter other guards that are likely to expose the Tar Heels defensively. And the suspense is sure to only highten as long as this injury lingers. Guess we'll just have to stay on our toes ...

(Sorry, I had to.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mike Gminski is a bitch

Heard about this on the radio today and had to share it. For those of you who don't know who Mike Gminski in, don't worry. You're not missing anything. He is a terrible broadcaster, on a terrible station (Raycom), who played for a terrible team (Duke) and has maintained a terrible haircut for a terribly long period of time. With all this in mind, I can't say that I was surprised when I heard one of the guys from 99.9 FM The Fan (ESPN Radio here in the RTP area) recount a scene from the ACC tournament in Atlanta which completely solidfied my stance that Mike Gminski is a douchebag. I think it was Mike Maniscalco from the The Sports Lunch with Mike Maniscalco who broke this one, but I cannot confirm that, although I sent an e-mail to try and find out. According to whomever it was, following the ACC tournament championship on Sunday, the media gathered onto a shuttle at the Georgia Dome that would head back to the media hotel. Now, I have experience with this sort of shuttle and it is not much different, I would assume, from any other shuttle. Aisle, two seats on each side, not particularly comfortable, but a hell of a lot better than walking 10 miles in the cold and rain with a laptop strapped to your shoulder to get back to the hotel.

Well, as the media shuttle filled, an unnamed reporter filed on to find that the only seat left was next to Gminski and contained Gminski's bag, which he refused to move - making his fellow media minion return to the unforgiving weather outside and wait for the next shuttle to arrive. I hope to God that, no matter what I become in life, I never have to resort to being that big of an asshole. I mean, it would be one thing if this guy had ever done anything worthy of being a prick. But his success in the ACC weighed against his pro career can be equated to that high school stud we're all familiar with that wound up with more DUIs than made field goals at some Division III school.

So I'm going to take this opportunity to put Mike Gminski in his place, by comparing Gminski's rookie card (pictured), to that of someone who does matter - and someone who went to North Carolina for that matter. Gminski's 1981-'82 Topps RC is currently on eBay for a whopping $1.97. This item has zero bids. Get it while it's hot. Michael Jordan's rookie card has been listed for three hours. It has nine bids, topping out at $710 so far. It has four days, 21 hours, 28 minutes to go. If Michael was on the bus and wanted a seat for his bag, I think it would be safe to say he's earned it. But, Mike Gminski, if you were important enough to be within 50 yards of a real man like MJ, he'd move his ratty burlap bag and give you the last seat on the bus. But let's face it, you're not that important. I hope that guy that stood out in the cold doesn't mistake you for Will Ferrell and is able to tell everyone he knows what a loser that you really are.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Who cares?

Watching Duke win the ACC championship is nauseating. The only thing making it easier is the fact that everyone knows that the team is a joke and won't last in the NCAA tourney. I'm not just coming up with this because North Carolina didn't win the conference championship that it obviously deserved, despite the fact that it may seem to be my primary motivation.

Instead, I took a look at various top seeds from the other power conferences and how they did in what has honestly become a meaningless exhibition prior to the NCAA tournament. I understand that teams can use the platform to get on a roll heading into the field of 64, much like Duke has. The Blue Devils were a team that desperately needed some cohesion if it had any hope of navigating to the latter stages of the championship chase. But the fact of the matter remains - Duke is not a title contender. Missouri isn't a title contender. Syracuse isn't a title contender. Neither are many of the teams that used their respective conference tournaments to either get in the NCAAs or to perhaps crawl up a spot in the upcoming seeding.

The way I see it, there are seven possible champions: North Carolina, Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Connecticut and maybe Michigan State. Memphis and Louisville are the only two of those teams who won their conference tournaments (and Memphis might as well be the only team in C-USA), and the only two to even compete for that matter. You can't tell me that five of the seven bona fide title contenders weren't good enough even get to the conference finals. The truth of the matter is that no one cares about conference championships as much as they used to. None of these teams had anything to gain from winning their respective conferences and it showed in their play. With the exception of the two winners and UConn, which lost what may have been the greatest college basketball game of all time, no one really seemed to have any fire. Even Huskies players were saying the presser after the game that they didn't care; at a certain point, they just wanted somebody to win so that they could go home.

More and more, conference tournaments are becoming isolated NITs. That's why Duke's win of the ACC doesn't amount to a hill of beans to me.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Maybe the best prank ever

With Maryland taking on Duke in the ACC tournament today, I'm going to find myself rooting for the Terrapins, right along with the rest of the meanest, most heartless fans in America. Now, I have a ton of respect for Maryland fans. They've won before, generally, they're not dorks, and their gimmicks are a hell of a lot better than Duke's. This video that someone put me on to is a perfect example of how undeniably ... just wrong (and hysterical) these people are.

Friday, March 13, 2009

You put the No. 1 seed in, you knock the No. 8 seed out

Well, I'm supposed to be court-side at the ACC tournament in Atlanta, Ga., but I'm not. So instead of bringing you anything cool, I'm just gonna regurgitate the stuff all of you have already seen. North Carolina's win wasn't pretty, but I didn't expect it to be in the team's first game without Ty Lawson. I heard an interesting fact on the radio here in Virginia. No team in NCAA history has ever lost the first game of its conference tournament and gone on to win the NCAA championship. Also, today marked the first time in ACC history that the tourney did not feature the conference player of the year.

UNC did itself some good on both of those fronts. I thought before the tournament started that the best decision for the Tar Heels was to sit Lawson. There are various theories regarding conference tournaments as necessary warm-ups to the big dance, but the way I look at it is that if you haven't figured it out in the first 30 games, then you just ain't going to. Resting Lawson gives the back-up guys a chance to get into a rhythm and Lawson an extra week of rest. In theory, I would argue that you have to consider even sitting Lawson to open the NCAA tourney if that foot is still iffy. You're not going to lose to the No. 16 seed. And if you think that you can get through Round 2, then all of the sudden he's had a whole extra week to rest, and should give the team a huge confidence boost heading down the stretch. But Roy knows (and gets paid) a heckuva lot more than I do, so I'll leave such decisions to him.

I didn't really care who won the Va. Tech/Miami match-up on Thursday, although I was disappointed to see Jack McClinton struggle the way he did. He's been a huge asset to the ACC both on the court and off, evidenced by the Skip Prosser Award he won for being a scholar athlete. I would have to think that he'll wind up in the NBA, but you wish a guy like that would get a shot to make some noise in the next round.

For now, it's Boston College entering the second half up 29-22 on Duke. The Blue Devils are the biggest flop since Vlade Divac. Not sure I'm going to give this game much more of my time...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ty Game

Though the path was rocky at times, North Carolina capped off its ACC season with a win at home against Duke to give the Tar Heels the conference title that everyone expected would be theirs when the year began. Thirty games into the nation's third-toughest schedule, Carolina stands at 27-3 with the regular season ACC title under its belt, but the Tar Heels certainly do not stand alone in terms of favorites to win it all. That said, I think we've learned a lot about UNC this season. My sharpest recollection of the Tar Heels' title run in 2005 is the manner in which they dominated the competition in the ACC. North Carolina's 15 in-conference regular-season wins in '05 came by an average of 20.4 points per game. If you think about it, that's staggering. To put that number in perspective, this year's 13 wins came by an average of 14.5.

I still consider the Tar Heels to be the favorite to win it all, don't get me wrong. But there are far more threats posed to this year's team than the previous championship squad. That really speaks of the parity we currently find in college basketball. Regardless of what happens from here, though, today's game was one to remember, as always. A win against Duke is really the only fitting end to Tyler Hansbrough's career at the University. His speech after the game was moving, and proved that though he appears aloof on the court, there are some wheels turning inside that head of his. It was good to see him get a chance to share his feelings and a show that he understands of what he has meant to the program and what the program has meant to him.

But even though Hansbrough has been great and leads UNC in points and rebounds, it is Ty Lawson who would get my vote of ACC Player of the Year. The award is an MVP of sorts, usually reserved for the best player on the best team. So, it's a no-brainer that a Tar Heel will wind up with the hardware this year, given the team's success. But it's Lawson who proved himself to be the most valuable player on the team, if not in the country. I would have a hard time overlooking Blake Griffin of Oklahoma for the NCAA POY award, but I feel that Lawson has to receive strong consideration. Whether he wins the award or not, Lawson should have silenced any remaining critics this afternoon when he nearly netted a triple-double with a sprained toe.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Henson in town for big game

Ran into North Carolina commit John Henson today. Nice kid. Very tall. The kid's got the look of a star. I introduced myself and found him to be a genuine kid in the few minutes that we talked. I got the impression that he's pretty well-rounded and intellectual. Obviously he can ball, so it will be exciting to see how he pans out. Next to Ed Davis I had a hard time seeing the ceiling, so I can only imagine what it is going to be like for opponents to find the basket in the paint next season. Yes, losing Hansbrough is going to hurt, but rolling in another recruit like Henson has made the Tar Heel faithful very, very happy.

Lawson to have injection prior to tip-off Sunday

There have been recent rumors swirling about whether or not Ty Lawson will play tomorrow when North Carolina hosts Duke at 4 p.m. As of now, he will play. But he will receive an injection prior to game time in an effort to ease pain in his ailing right foot. He injured the foot in practice yesterday, as has widely been the report of message boards all over the place.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Say It Ain't T.O.

Lord. Can we get this guy off the news? Full disclosure here: I'm a huge Terrell Owens fan. I don't know, I just tend to pull for the misunderstood, as the phrasing often goes. That said, T.O. is in some deep do-do. The Randy Moss parallels shouldn't even exist. Randy was 30. Owens is 35 and coming off a season in which his statistics took a major hit. Sixty-five yards per game? That's good enough for 15th in the NFL. If you've ever read this blog, you know I'm a Redskins fan. ESPN's Christ Mortensen says that the 'Skins are absolutely out of the question. I guess I can understand that. But the way I see it, we've got a cast of bums as wideouts. Part of me wishes that Snyder would trade some of those chumps for some line help on either side of the ball and sign T.O. I think about it this way. Things are always great in the beginning. Owens comes in, makes his promises and minds his manners in hopes of showing up whichever team just gave up on him. Trade some of these goons, sign T.O. and draft my man Hakeem Nicks out of the University of North Carolina with your first-round pick. You'll get the most out of T.O. in the first year because he's going to be hell-bent of proving the Cowboys wrong. What better way to do so than with a rival that makes up half of one of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports?

Then, while everyone is still thinking, "Hey, this T.O. thing just might work," you dump him. Dump him before he has a chance to dump you. Then you've got help on the line, a potential playmaker with a season under his belt in which he had a chance to learn from one of the best and no chance of a headache. Hey, nothing else has worked since 1992. Why not?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hope you brought your umbrella

I'm sure all five of my readers will be delighted to know that I showed signs of athleticism tonight. I managed to score for the first time in five games in my recreational basketball league, pouring in five 3's and adding a sweet drive to the basket for a dun ... I mean, lay-in, giving me a nice, round total of 17 points. The best part? That was all in the first half! My teammates sent me into exile in the second, leaving me a mere 0-for-2 from beyond the arc. Still, it was an infinitely better performance than my other two on the season. We've played four games, but I've missed two. One for the UNC/Duke game, and the other to visit my grandmother.

The downside is that we lost. That puts us at 4-1 on the year. It is a four-on-four league at the Cary YMCA. We have a dude that is 6-foot-11 and another that is 6-foot-9, so we generally dominate. But our two big men weren't there tonight, leaving four mortals - all standing below about 6'2" to deal with a pretty good team. We kept it close until about midway through the second half, when we all ran out of steam. Still, with four games to go in the regular season, I think we're the odds on favorite. Especially if I can continue to shoot like a white boy.

I'll keep you posted as I know you'll all be dying for updates.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

LeBron vs. Michael

I never thought I'd say this about anybody:

LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan.

Now, I know you probably think I'm crazy to say that a kid who is younger than me, and has yet to log five years in his NBA career, is better than the greatest player of all time. And I know that the argument persists that LeBron isn't even the best player in the league right now. LeBron has never won a national championship, an NBA championship, never won even an MVP outright. He didn't score 81, or even 63 in the playoffs. My argument to that is simple. Who cares? Hank Aaron never hit 50 home runs in a season. But the fact that he hit more than 20 for 20 straight years is staggering. That is what LeBron is doing right now. He scored 40+ last night against the Miami Heat, giving him seven such games on the year. Combine his point totals (second-highest PPG in the league at 28.5 a game) with the fact that he averages more than seven rebounds per game, is 10th in the NBA in assists, and that he's doing all of this while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and you've got the greatest player of all-time - already.

His team is terrible. The teams in contention in his conference and in the West all have more than one star. The Celtics have three, the Magic have a couple, the Nuggets, Spurs, Lakers ... they're all loaded. LeBron made Mo Williams an all-star. Mo Williams? Kobe would've demanded out of Cleveland a long, long time ago had the front office waited this long to make a move. Kobe complained about wanting another threat after he forced Shaq out of town. LeBron would like to have Joe Smith. That's laughable. James just needs four other competent mammals on the floor, to get within a game of two consecutive Eastern Conference titles.

Look at his bio. This guy is the youngest to do everything. He is the first athlete to rival the marketability of Jordan, to whom a comparison cannot exist in terms of marketing, since Michael is the reason all of it exists in the first place. Yes, Michael set the stage for someone else to come along and blow our minds. Well, that someone is here. And we are all witnesses.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Losing Formula

A friend made an interesting point the other day regarding North Carolina's three losses this season. Three names that leap from the box scores of the Tar Heels' losses to Boston College, Wake Forest and Maryland are Tyrese Rice, Jeff Teague and Greivis Vasquez, respectively. Rice had 25 in a 7-point win. Teague scored 34, and the Demon Deacons won by three. And, most recently, Vasquez put up a triple-double, scoring 35 in Maryland's 88-85 win in overtime last Saturday.

The one thing all three have in common?

Marcus Ginyard wasn't guarding any of them.

While many were hopeful that the Tar Heels would run the table en route to their second national championship in five years, it is understood that the team likely was to lose a game or two during the course of a 40+ game season. That said, the circumstances of UNC's three losses this season highlight how important a lock-down defender like Ginyard is to a championship contender. If you look back to the Tar Heels' title run in '05, you notice that Jackie Manuel started 36 of the team's 37 games and averaged more than 20 minutes a game. The guy couldn't throw a golf ball into the ocean from the deck of a boat anchored two miles offshore, but he had unprecidented value. I remember going to games and hearing even "Jackie Manuel's Posse" hold its breath when the ball found its way to an oft-wide-open Manuel around the perimeter in a tight game. Sporadic shouts of "No!," or "Don't shoooooot!" could be heard throughout the arena. But his defensive presence in the face of a go-to scorer for the opposition was paramount for North Carolina.

I think fans and critics alike have all but forgotten the fact that the Tar Heels have been contenders all season - and done so without a starter ... a very important starter. There are other good defenders on the team, but none can compare to Ginyard, who's strength and aggressiveness often have led to frustrated opponents. Defensive prowess can be measured in steals and blocked shots, but still is very difficult to quantify. Altered shots and a scorer's inability to get a clean look at the basket, or at a teammate cutting in that direction, need only happen two or three times in the course of a one-, two- or three-possession game to change the outcome. Now, I'm not saying that Carolina is 27-0 with Ginyard in the lineup, but I am saying that teams would have to find other ways to win.