Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rivals Make Nice On “Basketball Day”

(Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
From Associated Press: Only on Tobacco Road could this scene unfold: Dean Smith slowly walked onto the stage, his arm held by Roy Williams, and sat next to Mike Krzyzewski. A few seats down was the sister of the late women’s coach Kay Yow.

Smith, Krzyzewski and Yow—three Hall of Fame coaches who have combined for more than 2,500 victories at North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina State, respectively—were honored Wednesday night on “Basketball Day” in North Carolina.

Each point of the state’s Triangle was represented and celebrated during a ceremony presented by the state’s sports hall of fame, with each receiving Naismith Good Sportsmanship Awards for their contributions to the game by the Naismith International Basketball Foundation.

“You can’t bring those three entities together and not have it be an incredible night,” Krzyzewski said (complimenting everybody else and himself!).

(Robert Willet/Raleigh News & Observer)
Krzyzewski enters his 37th season as a head coach with 900 wins—two shy of matching Bob Knight for the most by a Division I men’s coach. Smith retired in 1997 as the record-holder with 879 wins. Yow, who died in 2009 after a two-decade fight with cancer, won 737 games during her career.

“If anybody asked me who made ACC basketball, without a doubt, it’s Coach Smith,” said College of Charleston coach Bobby Cremins, a longtime rival of Smith’s and Krzyzewski’s from his time at Georgia Tech.

Then, he quipped: “I’m very proud of what I accomplished, and when I see what (Krzyzewski has) accomplished, I feel like a cockroach.”

The 80-year-old Smith, who rarely appears publicly, didn’t speak to the crowd and appeared on the stage for only about 10 minutes. Williams escorted him out and brought him to a seat between Krzyzewski and Charles Scott—the first black player in North Carolina history.

To read more, click here

Easterling Headed West…Or North or South, Who Knows?

Florida State’s most reliable receiver is leaving school to pursue a professional baseball career.

Taiwan Easterling, a three-year starter for the Seminoles who had at least one catch in each of his last 24 games, signed a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs and is foregoing his final year of football eligibility.

Easterling caught 43 passes for 551 yards and five touchdowns last season at Florida State, including the game-clinching score in the Seminoles 26-17 Peach Bowl victory over South Carolina. Easterling finished his career with 108 catches for 1,315 yards and eight touchdowns. His 108 catches rank 18th all-time at Florida State, one ahead of former Seminole Jesse Hester.

Easterling hit .296 for the Seminoles this season highlighted by a 4-for-4 performance in the NCAA Regional tournament.

Pictures Of The Day

Dirk went to Germany.  They were happy to see him.  Here, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki poses after he left the mayor houses on June 28, 2011 in Wuerzburg, Germany. Nowitzki visits his hometown Wuerzburg after he and his team Dallas Mavericks won the 2011 NBA title. Evidently, German cheerleaders never go outside or they are all vampires.  (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Seeing double? Forevertheoptomist ridden by Kieren Fallon, right, on the way to winning the 1450 Bank of New York Mellon Dragon Stakes (really? Who names these races?) ahead of Kohala ridden by Graham Gibbons at Sandown in Surrey, England.  (Photo by Julian Herbert/Action Images/ZUMAPRESS.com)
A HUGE crowd turned out for the Henley Royal Regatta on June 30, 2011 in Henley-on-Thames, England. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images Europe)
Jockey Giovanni Atzeni of Oca parish falls off his horse, ironically named Mississippi, during a trial race at Del Campo square in Siena, Italy.  (Photo by Agusuto Mattioli/Reuters)
Sweet!  Soccer fans, you gotta love 'em. Supporters of Mexico and Japan pose before the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Group B match between Japan and Mexico at the Fifa Womens World Cup Stadium on July 1, 2011 in Leverkusen, Germany.  (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images Europe)
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga of France dives for a shot during his semifinal round against Novak Djokovic of Serbia (who won the match) on Day Eleven at Wimbeldon.  (Photo by Carl de Souza/Getty Images)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ACC Stalwart Wins Second Straight CWS

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Long-time member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the University of South Carolina shredded the record book when they won their second straight national championship in baseball last night in Omaha.

The Gamecocks assault on the records began when they became the first team to go 10-0 in an NCAA tournament and the first since Oregon State in 2007 to go unbeaten in a CWS with Tuesday night’s 5-2 win that completed a two-game sweep of Florida.

South Carolina (55-14) retooled their pitching staff, star center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. missed two months with a broken wrist and first baseman Christian Walker played through the same injury during the CWS finals.
The Gamecocks have the distinction of winning the first CWS at TD Ameritrade Park after winning the last one played at Rosenblatt Stadium.

South Carolina’s streaks of 16 NCAA tournament wins and 11 straight in the CWS are both the longest all-time.

Three of the Gamecocks’ first four wins here came in their last at-bat and included incredible pitching and defensive performances in the late innings.

The ACC regular season and tournament champs…WHAT???!???!?!?!?

ACC Commissioner John Wofford still hasn’t gotten South Carolina back into the ACC…WHAT?!?!? 

What has he been doing all these years – counting parking tickets in Chapel Hill?

Boston College is still in the ACC???  WHAT?!?!?!

Jeez…

C’mon people, you’re killin’ us here…

Things That Make You Go…

Hmmm…

Ladies and gentlemen we give you the World’s Ugliest Dog ® Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, CA.  

Why you ask?  Because we can…

On Tuesday night, a 1.8 pound mutt named Yoda from California took the 23rd annual prize home at the expense of  field of 29 contestants of questionable beauty. The packed crowd settled on Yoda in the mutt round and she quickly sailed past the Ring of Champions to win.
Her owner, Terry Devine Schumacher, is from Hanford, California and said the dog was found by her daughter in a field when she was two, “I told her to put it down because I thought it was a rat.” However they soon learned otherwise and the dog has been in the family now for 14 years.

Her “irregular” features, scruffy fur (especially between her toes) and tiny stance made her a crowd favorite.  

According to the wise guys in Vegas, Yoda was a longshot with odds makers favoring Icky, Cuda, Handsome Hector and Ratdog. Three of the four “barked foul” after the final decision was rendered.

The Sonoma-Marin Fair allowed the audience a vote this year via text just like American Idol and Yoda quickly skyrocketed to the top of the voting. The judges concurred and a new winner was named.
Yoda (a Chinese Crested/Chihuahua blend) wins a trophy 15 times her size and $1,000 in cold, hard cash. She also receives a photo shoot with Kira Stackhouse of Nuena Photography and a pampered overnight stay in the luxurious Loft Suite at the Sheraton Sonoma County.

In addition, as the World’s Ugliest Dog ®, Yoda will likely be hitting the talk show circuit and become a star at local dog events.
Look for her on Letterman soon. 

To see more photos, click here

(Photos by Noah Berger/AP)

Pictures Of The Day

You know those before and after pictures of the President of the United States where they look young and vibrant when they are elected and old and completely worn down when they leave office…?  Well if this is Davey Johnson’s “before” picture then what is the “after” shot gonna look like?  We aren’t saying Davey looks bad, just a little gaunt and worn and when this picture was taken he hadn’t even seen the Nats play yet!  Here, Johnson is introduced as the Washington Nationals manager prior to the start of the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 27, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)
Watch out, the newly bearded Tiger Woods appears to be channeling a little Chris Rock with his new look. Woods spoke to the media during a press conference before the AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club on June 28, 2011 in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania saying he wouldn’t return to the tour until he was completely healthy.  Unlike some previous Woods’ press conferences, a lot of people were yawning. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
French player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reacts after beating Swiss player Roger Federer during the men's single quarter final at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club, in southwest London on June 29, 2011. Tsonga won 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. (Photo by Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

The mascot race featured at Colonial Downs on Sunday, June 12th.  The Hokie Bird finished a close third.  (Coady Photography)
Pigs with the All-Alaskan Pig Racing round the track during a race at the Alameda County Fair on June 23, 2011 in Pleasanton, California. The Alameda County Fair is celebrating its 99th year and features rides, farm animals, carnival food, horse racing and pig races. The fair runs through July 10. (Getty Images)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Legendary Shot Maker Lorenzo Charles of N.C. State Dies In Crash

The famous shot
Lorenzo Charles, the man who brought down Houston’s high flying Phi Slamma Jamma with an improbable dunk to give N.C. State and now legendary coach Jim Valvano the 1983 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Championship, was killed yesterday when a charter bus he was driving crashed in Raleigh, NC.

Police say Charles, 47, was driving a charter bus westbound on I-40 when he lost control on an exit ramp and crashed into a stand of trees. He was the only person on the bus.

Lorenzo’s catch and follow-up dunk of the last-second desperation shot from teammate Derek Whittenburg is part of NCAA tournament lore. That moment was quickly followed by another that basketball fans will never forget: late Wolfpack coach Jim Valvano running around the floor in amazed euphoria looking for someone to hug. 

The upset of the seeming unbeatable Cougars led by future NBA all-stars Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde “The Glide” Drexler helped propel the Big Dance into the stratosphere of national popularity.

That said, Charles' reach in the sports world went beyond his contributions on the court. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, he drove for the Duke lacrosse team and became a part of the family, coach John Danowski said Monday. Danowski had Charles talk to the team during the NCAA tournament in 2010, before the Blue Devils won the national title.

Charles was driving for Elite Tours, an Apex company also known as Elite Coach.

Whittenburg and Charles (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)
Charles, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., was a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School. After his days at NCSU, he was selected 41st overall in the 1985 NBA draft and played one season in the NBA, averaging 3.4 points in 36 games with the Atlanta Hawks in 1985-86.  He then played internationally and in the Continental Basketball Association until 1999.

Valvano's wife, Pam, said Monday that she was heartbroken to hear of Charles' passing and described him as always laid-back and polite.

"That night in Albuquerque, you'd never known he'd made the big shot. He was so humble," she said. "That was just Lorenzo, though. He was the same nice young guy whether we'd won or lost. He was quiet, but he loved people and loved being around those guys on that team."

Charles lived in Wake Forest with his wife, Theresa.

To read more and see a tribute to Charles, click here

Quote Of The Day

(Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer)

"It's hard to express the tremendous loss that so many are feeling right now with this tragedy. Lorenzo was a wonderful person and one of the true legends in N.C. State basketball history. His game-winning basket against Houston in the 1983 national championship game is forever carved on the minds of anybody who has ever followed the sport." 

– Arizona State coach and former N.C. State coach Herb Sendek recalled the time he got to know Charles during his 1996-2006 coaching tenure with the Wolfpack.

Former N.C. State QB Wilson To Start For Wisconsin?

Former North Carolina State quarterback Russell Wilson is headed to Wisconsin, potentially solving one of the biggest hurdles standing between the Badgers and a Big Ten title.

Wilson’s desire to play both baseball and football ultimately led to his early departure from N.C. State. Coach Tom O’Brien released the all-ACC quarterback two months ago largely because his baseball commitments kept him from taking part in offseason workouts.

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said Monday that Wilson will compete for the Badgers’ starting job in the fall. Wilson most recently played in the Colorado Rockies’ minor league system but apparently is ready to hang up his baseball spikes.

What Bielema said: “This is an unusual situation, especially for a program that prides itself on developing players throughout their careers, as we do here at Wisconsin,” Bielema said in a statement released by the school. “However, this is a special situation and Russell is the type of player and person that fits very well with our team.”

What Bielema meant:  "We didn't score a TD in our spring game and we desperately need help at the QB position.  I like having a job and I like Russell Wilson.  Have you seen this kids stats?"

Wilson has one year of eligibility remaining and can play right away. He will attend graduate school at UW.
In his three seasons with the Wolfpack, Wilson threw for 8,545 yards and 76 touchdowns with 26 interceptions.  In 13 games last season, Wilson completed 58.4 percent of his passes for 3,563 yards with 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Wilson also rushed for 435 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

We have contacted the Suits In Indianapolis for an explanation of why Wilson can play for N.C. State one year and transfer to another D1 school and play the next year…

*Items in italics may not be true, but in this case, we think they very well may be…

Things That Make You Go…

Hmmm…

Look, we know soccer is a big deal all over the world and we admit that we simply don’t get it.  Like mayonnaise in toothpaste tubes (Japan).

That said, we are still amazed by some of the soccer meltdowns we see world wide.  Here’s the latest:

Dateline: Argentina.

Apparently, the soccer team River Plate, which had won a record 33 Argentine league championships, got demoted to the second division for the first time on Sunday.  As far as we can tell this is a big deal.
This prompted their legions of devoted fans to…drum roll, please…riot.

Of course, what else would they do?

The story goes like this: River drew 1-1 with Belgrano of the Nacional B division in the second leg of a relegation-promotion playoff at the Monumental after a 2-0 defeat in the first leg in Cordoba on Wednesday. 

No, we don’t know what that means, but, again, it appears to be bad…

Fans in the 60,000 plus crowd at the Monumental were enraged, throwing objects on to the pitch and some tried to climb over perimeter fencing to storm on to the field.

The violence escalated inside and outside the stadium with “barrabrava” hooligans fans causing mayhem in streets around the giant stadium lighting fires, breaking windows and looting some shops.  

Hooligans wielding iron bars and and throwing stones clashed with riot police while the bulk of supporters were afraid to leave the stadium for fear of getting caught in the violence.

“There are about 25 people traumatised who have been taken to (local) hospitals,” said Alberto Crescenti, head of emergency medical services at public events.

“They are out danger, supporters and police officers…They had mainly head wounds from stones,” he told reporters inside the stadium.

Players of both sides had to leave the pitch under police protection while other officers used high power hoses and tear gas to try to the disperse the rioting fans.

Belgrano were unable to celebrate promotion with the few hundred visiting fans, who were still in their sector of the stands for their safety two hours after the final whistle.

The authorities had considered playing the match behind closed doors after River fans had invaded the pitch in the first leg in Cordoba but changed their minds.

Mistake…Followed up by a few bad decision.

In a relate item, it was reported today that they fired their coach and hired a former player to replace him. 

Wake Forest Adds Coach...

...and almost no one cares.

Former New York Knicks assistant and executive Jeff Nix is Wake Forest’s new director of basketball operations.

Coach Jeff Bzdelik announced the hiring Thursday. Nix spent 15 years in the Knicks’ organization from 1992-2007, including eight years as an assistant, five years as the assistant general manager and two years as the director of scouting.

He replaces Walt Corbean, who was promoted to assistant coach after Mark Pope took a position on BYU’s coaching staff.

Bzdelik says the Demon Deacons “hit a home run” in landing Nix. The two worked together in 1994-95 when Bzdelik was the Knicks’ lead scout and Nix was one of Pat Riley’s assistants.

Old News Part 3: UNC Releases Names Of Parking Violators

Can't be all that much fun over at Butch Davis' house these days as his employer has identified eight football players who accumulated 317 parking tickets that were uncovered in documents requested by media outlets covering the ongoing NCAA probe.

The school released a chart Friday that links those players’ names to their license plate numbers on vehicles that included a Land Rover, BMW and an Acura.

A week ago, the school released records that showed some players combined for 395 citations totaling more than $13,000 between March 2007 and August 2010.

The newest release showed receiver Greg Little had 93 tickets on multiple vehicles with nine different license plates.

The other players identified were linebacker Bruce Carter; defensive backs Charles Brown, Kendrick Burney and Deunta Williams; defensive lineman Robert Quinn and running backs Johnny White and Ryan Houston.

The names of those whose cars received the other 78 citations were not identified by the school.

Now, if you are terrifically board or you have an obsessive anal hate for North Carolina (oh yeah, Duke and State fans, we are talking to you!) you can research this player-by-player on a data base compiled by the Raleigh News & Observer. 

Pictures Of The Day

Finito in more ways than one… Bullfighter Finito de Cordoba of Spain performs during the first bullfight of the 2011 season after the bullfight ban at the Monumental bullring on June 26, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. Bullfighting in Catalonia will be banned as of January 1, 2012.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe)
Rear view. The horses race during the $1 million Queen’s Plate in Toronto.  The race is Canada’s oldest race.  (Photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters)
Aftermath.  A man walks by a graffiti reading "You Don't Mess With River"   in downtown Buenos Aires on June 27, 2011, a day after football team River Plate was relegated to second division after a two-match promotion-relegation playoff with lowly Belgrano de Cordoba. The legendary Argentine football giants were relegated from the country's top division Sunday for the first time in their 110-year history, amid tears and scenes of violent mayhem.  (Photo by Damian Dopacil/AFP/Getty Images)
America is a great country.  And, evidently, we like beer.  Fans of United States soccer team parade around the Rose Bowl stadium priror to the start of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship soccer match between the United States and Mexico on June 25, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America)
Back to the future…Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Reggie Jackson stand during The New York Yankees 65th Old Timers Day game on June 26, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images North America)
Phi Slamma Jamma.  (Courtesy of the University of Houston)

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