What up world? This is EJ and I’m back with another edition of The Blog About Nothing. April is rolling on nicely, but you’re boy is still not 100 percent. Bronchitis is a mother and I hate it, I hate it with a passion. Not letting it keep me down though. I got to keep on rolling. So, this week I’ll show love to Kevin Ollie, Nik Stauskas, I’ll give you a name to keep an eye on over the next month, and finally please do remember that mama said knock you out! Let’s do this!
Congratulations to the University of Connecticut. For the second time, the University has won the Men’s and Women’s National College Basketball Championship in the same season. Take a bow Geno Auriemma and Kevin Ollie. Kevin Ollie, in particular. The former NBA journeyman guard truly impressed me over the past couple of weeks. Ollie, who took over for long time coach Jim Calhoun, inherited a bit of a mess in the Huskies. Calhoun stepped away due to health reasons, but the University was also in the midst of an investigation due to low Academic Performance Rates. In simpler terms, Calhoun recruited athletes to Storrs, Connecticut, and many of them left without a degree from the University. Their graduation rates fell well below NCAA standards and this led to a one year ban, and the ability for players to transfer out of the program without penalty.
Luckily for Ollie, Shabazz Napier stayed. Napier, a fearless guard, teamed up with Ryan Boatwright and led the Huskies to an improbable title run. The Huskies were a 7 seed. When the NCAA selection committee seeds teams, I don’t necessarily believe that the men and women in that room expect a 7 seed to win the tournament (although I’m sure they didn’t expect 8th seeded Kentucky in the Finals either). Then again, the selection committee did do the American Athletic Conference dirty. The remnants of the football schools of the Big East and Conference USA castaways were not highly rated coming into the tournament. Case in point: defending national champion Louisville, and AAC champion, was a 4 seed. If Louisville was still in the Big East, or in the ACC as they will be next season, there would be no way that they’d be a 4th seed. The Committee knocked Louisville down because of the weak conference they came from.
Part of this is why I think Kevin Ollie won’t be long for Connecticut. The 41 year old head coach, has to take the next challenge which is to become a head coach in the National Basketball Association. Why? UCONN historically doesn’t pay top dollar, his University plays in a non power conference, and Ollie is highly regarded by NBA types. Take one look at his Wikipedia page. The page has quotes from Kevin Durant and former Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager Jim Paxson that cites Ollie’s professionalism and the impact he had on their young careers. Even watching him coach in the Tournament, he approaches the game and scenarios from a professional level. Honestly? I think he’ll be wasted on the college level if he doesn’t look to make the leap in the next few seasons. He’s 41. If he isn’t on an NBA sideline by his 45th birthday, then he’ll just be another case of wasted potential. He already has a title in his back pocket. Take the leap. Even if he fails (and I don’t think he will) he can always return to the college game and be a commodity. So NBA teams: call the man.
As a personal preference, I hope he comes home to Los Angeles and take the Lakers job. That aforementioned professionalism would rub off on the younger players on the roster, and keep Kobe Bryant interested in what will be the twilight years of his career. Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak need to take the leap of faith and call the man.
Another gentleman that will be making the leap to the next level is University of Michigan guard Nik Stauskas. The 6’6″ Canadian guard is leaving college early and entering the NBA Draft. I like the Wolverines guard. I don’t think he’s a top 10 player, but for a team drafting in the 20’s, he’ll be a great addition. The Big Ten Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year can shoot the ball. This past season he shot 44% from the 3 point line, and unleashed some sneaky athleticism. This year’s draft is a bit top heavy, but a guy like Stauskas can still pay off for a team that will be drafting in the middle to the back end of the first round. He’d be a great pick for the Toronto Raptors at #20. Even with DeRozan and Ross, you can’t beat drafting a hometown guy. The Raptors entered the season thinking they’d have a shot at Thornhill’s Andrew Wiggins, but since they have overachieved, why not settle for Mississauga’s Nik Stauskas?
Next I’m going to give you a name to keep an eye on since we’re under a month till the NFL Draft. That name: Tom Savage. The University of Pittsburgh quarterback is my pick to be the next draft sleeper that will turn himself into a star at the next level. The former Rutgers University, and University of Arizona quarterback, is tall, and strong armed. The 23 year old from Springfield, Pennsylvania started for Rutgers as a true freshman in 2009 and threw for over 2,000 yards 14 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. However, things didn’t go well at Rutgers. In his sophomore year he hurt his hand, got replaced by Chas Dodd, and transferred to the University of Arizona. His stay with the Wildcats was brief because Rich Rodriguez was hired after Savage arrived and Savage is not a spread guy. He transferred to Pittsburgh where he threw for almost 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns in his only year as a starter.
I remember Savage from Rutgers, but he really caught my interest in the season opener this year when he dueled admirably against Jameis Winston of Florida State. Winston had all of the hype going into the game, but Savage more than held his own in a Pittsburgh loss. The 6’5″ quarterback has the size you want, and the arm strength you want. Now he took some knocks last year at Pitt because their offensive line wasn’t strong, and that affected his accuracy but with the right team, I think you’re looking at a star in two to three seasons. Best landing spot for Savage? The Arizona Cardinals. With Carson Palmer approaching the end of his career, drafting a guy that reminds me of him would be a smart move by the Cardinals franchise. Keep an eye out for Tom Savage next month. He’ll likely go on Day 3 (Saturday May 10) of the draft but don’t be surprised if he hears his name called on Day 2 (Friday May 9).
Finally, I know Mama Pacquiao and Mama Bradley are probably urging their sons to knock out his opponent this Saturday. Saturday, April 12th, is the night where Bradley-Pacquiao 2 will be going down at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bradley, the WBO Welterweight Champion will be defending his crown against the man he won it from two years earlier in Manny Pacquiao. OK, I’m being nice. Bradley didn’t win that crown. The judges gave it to him. Bradley insisted he won the first fight 8 rounds to 4, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who agrees with him. I saw that fight and I gave it 10 rounds to 2 for Pacquiao. Manny beat Bradley up. He just didn’t knock him out, and that was Manny’s failure. It’s been 7 years since Manny has knocked out an opponent. Part of that is due to Manny’s new found interest in Christianity and the “humanity” he’s shown in not hurting his opponent.
Well he better throw that shit out the window if he wants to win this Saturday because Bradley doesn’t have such a defect. Do yourself a favor. Google Bradley-Provodnikov (his first fight after “beating” Pacquiao) if you want to see a war. In 12 rounds, those two men traded heavy handed shots, and Bradley proved to the boxing world that he really is a fighter. Timmy has heart and that’s why I think he’s going to win this weekend. Tim Bradley is driven to prove that he deserves his title, and I can’t see the undefeated fighter suffering a letdown. However, I do feel bad for the guy. Why? He’s stuck with Top Rank and HBO, and he’ll be unable to negotiate a fight with the talented 147 pound fighters on Golden Boy’s roster who fight exclusively on Showtime. In taking this fight he agreed to stick with Top Rank for 2 years, and when Bradley wins this fight, he’ll soon find out that he’s stuck with few options going forward. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Bradley-Mayweather? Two brash undefeated fighters fighting for control of the 147 pound division. Win or lose, we won’t see it. Sad.
The only reason I posted this picture is to make fun of Drake. I might be a fan of his music, but he’s such a groupie. It’s definitely not Guy Code. So while I laugh at his dumb ass, I thank you for reading and supporting www.7poundbag.com. Peace.
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