Archive for May 2011

VCU Rams basketball plans to increase student fees next season

May 26, 2011

Via ESPN:

Virginia Commonwealth University plans to increase student fees so it can give $733,000 more to the basketball program, including for coaches’ raises.

Head coach Shaka Smart was given a $1.2 million contract after taking the Rams to the NCAA Final Four this past season.

According to VCU’s budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, the school plans to increase its mandatory university fee by $50 per student to raise about $11 million for intercollegiate athletics, an $875,000 increase.

VCU figures show that 37 percent of the $1,637 per-student university fee for 2011-12 will go toward intercollegiate athletics. That includes salaries, scholarships, and sports-facility repairs.

Spokeswoman Pam Lepley said Tuesday that private donations and ticket revenue, along with the university fee allocation, fund VCU athletics programs.

This is smart for the VCU basketball program, excuse my pun. However, should money be spent on athletics in the NCAA? And, should the students be responsible for providing salaries for coaches and programs? Economists keeps saying that no one has money to spend in the United States but we are spending money on athletics left and right. I have spoken to a few studnets from VCU and they like that the program is going to get more recognition from their Final Four run but they don’t think it is worth the extra money. Honestly,  I agree with them…

…I go to a college basketball school in Marquette and I will say that they are very dedicated to spending money on the team. When I was there as a freshman, season tickets were $75 a student and that wasn’t a bad price. Now over the last two years, they have been raised to $100. It is worth it because our team is always very good and we play in the Bradley Center, an NBA arena. However, besides the Wisconsin matchup and the Big East games we had to see the likes of Prairie View A&M and Centenary. Is it worth all that money? Some students say yes and some say no. I love college basketball and would spend the money for the games but some don’t believe their money should go to athletics. It’s a big debate around the college sports world. Would you spend the money? Isn’t it all about education…

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The Knicks Blog: Fordham Basketball coach talks about A-10 prospects and Charles Jenkins

May 24, 2011

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW and watch the video interview between Tommy Dee of The Knicks Blog talking NBA Draft, Charles Jenkins of Hofsta, Fordham University, and A-1o prospects….

Via The Knicksblog:

http://service.twistage.com/plugins/player.swf?p=link&v=e5710e166cabb

…What is interesting about this interview is the way he talks about the Atlantic 10. I think fans saw it watching the NCAA tournament that Richmond was a very good team almost making it to the Elite eight, Xavier got beat out by a very good Marquette team early but played well all year, and Temple beat a hot Penn St. team and almost beat San Diego St. in Overtime. The Atlantic 10 has gotten so good that sometimes you miss out on players like Kevin Anderson of Richmond, Andrew Nicholson of St. Bonaventure, and Damien Saunders from Duquesne. These players are really good and sometimes the NBA misses out on that talent. I know in particular La Salle’s Steven Smith was the best player in the A-10 and best NBA ready player that never was drafted. Played in the D-League and never got his chance. The only way you can make it is if you have the publicity and you are visited by a ton of NBA scouts. I think Coach Pecora got into detail about that and I know every kid is working hard on living there dream of making it to the NBA…

What the Cleveland Cavaliers should do with their #1 and #4 pick?

May 21, 2011

The Cleveland Cavaliers are making the big news! They are making it to the NBA Finals again against the San Antonio Spurs with Lebron James!!! Oh, that was 2007. Fast forward to 2011, the team had one of its worst seasons since 2003 and lost 26 games in a row. This is one season after making the NBA playoffs and losing it’s franchise player in Lebron James to the Miami Heat.

Now all the Cavalier fans in Cleveland are waiting for the NBA draft on June 23rd. That day will be the Super Bowl for the city of Cleveland because they have the first and fourth pick in this year’s draft. This is a big deal for this franchise because these two players that are coming in can change them from a 63 game loser to a 63 game winner. But the main question is who?

Let me start by saying they need to focus on shooting guards, centers, and small forwards. While there may not be players that fit that bill for this Cavaliers system, I say they choose Derrick Williams with #1 and then #4 Kyrie Irving.

The reason I say that they should do this is because as of right now, the best player in college basketball this season in the post was Arizona’s Derrick Williams. He brought the toughness and energy that this Cavaliers team is going to need. I think with him in the frontcourt next to a guy like J.J. Hickson could make for a dominant combo and can cause matchup problems in the future. Williams is the best athlete and overall player in this draft to go #1 and a city like Cleveland will embrace him and show him how to become a star like they saw Clippers Blake Griffin turn into this season.

Now if you have reached this point in the article you might have said, “How can they get Kyrie at #4? He is a projected #1 pick? The answer is Yes, he has been projected to be a number 1 pick. But here is my reasoning why they can get him 2 picks later.

The Timberwolves have probably the most point guards in the NBA with Jonny Flynn, Luke Ridnour, and Rubio coming to the NBA shortly. They don’t need another point guard on their roster. They were first in the league in rebounding next year and they are going to look for a scorer or a leader to change the dynamic of that team. They just let too many teams take advantage of them on defense and they didn’t really have an answer on the offensive end besides the double double machine Kevin Love.

Then you look at the Jazz. What are they lacking? They are lacking a guy who can shoot the ball and be a versatile forward/guard who can play multiple positions. They already have Devin Harris who is an All Star Point Guard and have Ronnie Price and Earl Watson to back him up. Why would they need another point guard in their system? Kyrie Irving wouldn’t even be able to play that much if he was selected by them and he wouldn’t be a fit. That is why I see him being a perfect fit at #4 for the Cavaliers.

Now a lot of people have been saying they will pick up the Lituanian center Jonas Valanciunas which is another good idea but if they grab Williams with the number one pick, they won’t need to address the center position so early. They also have the 32nd pick in the second round and there are plenty of centers in this draft and they can be picked up and make an NBA roster.

In the end, if the Cavaliers want to get back to greatness they need to make one of these choices. If they get both, then they are in shape to be REALLY good next year. I think they should be able to make those picks based on the situations they are presented with and they will turn from rags to riches in just one season. I really think Cleveland will be back next season. Hey, if the Indians are in first place in the American League Central throughout the month of May, anything can happen. You just have to get lucky.

Vote: What is the best play in baseball so far this season?

May 21, 2011

Hey baseball fans, I have watched a lot of baseball growing up and I have to say that this season has been the year of the glove. There have been a ton of fantastic plays from a lot of teams around the league and they have been very fun to watch. My question to you the fans is which one is the greatest? VOTE BELOW to decide which one is the best.

Roger Bernadina?

Brewers Double Play?

Cabrera Double Play?

Phillips throught the legs?

Jose Bautista is not on steriods, he has excellent timing.

May 19, 2011

This is an article from ESPN Baseball Tonight’s announcer Steve Berthiaume about how fans and baseball viewers should admire what Bautista has done rather than bring up more steriod talk. Follow him on twitter @SBerthiaumeESPN

Via ESPN Sweetspot Blog:

We ignore Jose Bautista. At best, we politely pay half-attention, not ready or willing to acknowledge the numbers he’s putting up and maybe hoping he stops. The Blue Jays’ right fielder leads the major leagues in batting average, home runs, runs scored, total bases, on-base and slugging percentage and OPS. Bautista is the tree in the forest. Yes, we hear, but why do we pretend not to? He’s a quiet, understated man who plays for a Canadian team that is virtually ignored in the U.S., even among baseball fans. Where is he from? Why is he never on TV? Does he speak English? How did he get so good?

Is he taking steroids?

It’s that last question that’s our greatest fear and, let’s be honest, a main reason Bautista’s spectacular performance has yet to be given its due. We’re afraid he’s using PEDs, and that’s an issue we’re all tired of dealing with. Our energy and attention spans regarding the steroid era are exhausted; we’re Barry Bondsed out. Bonds, however, might wind up being the name that surfaces here. Look at the similarities between Bonds’ numbers through the Giants’ first 40 games of 2001, when Bonds hit 73 home runs at the age of 36, and Bautista’s numbers at age 30, through the Blue Jays’ first 40 games of 2011.

Bautista is hitting home runs at a historic pace and he’s doing it in what we like to refer to as the post-steroids era. So we watch and hold our collective breath, hoping we’re not being lured into enthusiasm for a home run chase that degenerates into something like the joyless march to the inevitable through which we all slogged in 2007, when Bonds finished his career with 762 home runs.

J.P. Ricciardi, now a special assistant to Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, was the Blue Jays’ GM who brought Bautista to Toronto. “The commissioner has done a great job of cleaning up the game,” he told me. “There is definitely testing going on. You don’t think this guy’s getting tested? Obviously he’s passed every test. Everybody’s skeptical about certain things. This guy has had to have gone through the whole process and nothing has come up on this guy. He’s being tested like everyone else. I never thought he was a steroid guy and I don’t believe he is.”

Since May 15, 2010, Bautista has hit 63 home runs — 22 more than Albert Pujols‘ next-best total of 41. Remarkable considering that in his first 1800 career at-bats, Bautista hit just 60 home runs. Born in the Dominican Republic, Bautista attended junior college in the U.S. and speaks fluent English with no trace of a language barrier. Selected by the Pirates in the 20th round of the 2000 draft, he became a Rule 5 pick by the Orioles, but was later waived. “He never really got to play,” Ricciardi said. “Those guys get passed along.” During a two-month span of 2004, Bautista passed through the Orioles, Devil Rays, Royals, Mets and back to the Pirates. With Pittsburgh from 2006 through 2008, he never hit more than 16 home runs in a season. In August of 2008, he was sent to Toronto for a player to be named. “Any team could have had him,” Ricciardi said. “He was on waivers. We thought he might be a super-utility guy and now he’s recreated himself.”

Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Bautista’s evolution has produced a .708 slugging percentage over the last calendar year, more than 100 points higher than reigning NL MVP Joey Votto, and a 1.129 OPS that is the best in the majors. I asked Ricciardi what suddenly changed. “He’s the Karate Kid — you watch him, he’s wax on wax off,” he said. “He would take batting practice and absolutely put on a show, hit 10 into the second deck, high and far and deep — and then in the game, he’d get very rotational. His timing on his front foot wouldn’t be right. He’d either be late and try and rush everything and make up for it with his body instead of making his hands work. When he was early, his front side would come with him and he would never get to his power because he’d always be drifting toward the pitcher. Now he’s timing on his front foot and hitting down through the ball and not being rotational.”

A generic team now dressed in odd, denim-colored uniforms and black hats, the Blue Jays seem eons removed from Joe Carter’s jubilant trip around the World Series bases. Given Toronto’s lot in the AL East, competing against more lucrative franchises like the Yankees and Red Sox, some fans might believe the Blue Jays will never see the postseason again in their lifetimes. Without consistent national television exposure, it’s easier to rationalize overlooking Bautista’s place in the game. “If he was playing in New York or Boston, forget it,” Ricciardi said. “They’d be erecting statues of him. I love the kid. I honestly love the kid. He’s a great person and all the things that are happening to him couldn’t happen to a better guy.”

Fifty-four home runs last season was enough to say “Wow,” but not enough to force historic comparisons or stare the PED issue square in the face again. The consensus reaction to Bonds’ perjury trial this year might best be described as our long national indifference. I hope we don’t remain indifferent to Bautista, or to the Blue Jays for that matter. Bautista is the best hitter in baseball and, eventually, we have to relax and trust what we’re seeing again.

I have watched Jose Bautista play for a few years and I have to say that he is NOT ON STEROIDS!! He has changed his swing, his timing, and his  guessing behind the plate is phenomenal. I read a stat last year that said 75% of his home runs were out of the park on fastballs and when he was ahead of the count. When you are ahead 2-0 as a hitter, what do you expect? Fastball and nothing else baseball fans. BELOW I posted a video of all his 52 home runs. When you look at the swings, do they look different? Are there any home runs where you say, there is no way he could hit that out with a swing like that? To me, I say no because do you see how hard he swings and do you see his perfect timing? When Barry Bonds hit home runs, you could tell he didn’t swing hard and it went 500 feet but when Bautista hits it, he REALLY hits it and it goes a long way. I honestly agree with Steve Berthiaume on this argument. People should admire what this guy has done for baseball and shouldn’t run him out of the woods. We have a natural home run hitter in the game of baseball again and that hasn’t happened since the early 2000’s. Soak it up baseball fans and get used to it…

Sorry for the delay fans, I’m back for the Summer!

May 18, 2011

Hey Sports Cycle fans! I am sorry I left you all hanging for the past few weeks when it came to update new stories and new columns around the sports world. I just finished up finals week at Marquette and just got home from a 16 hour drive from Milwaukee to New York.

Over the summer you will see some new features on the blog that you might like. I love getting comments from the fans and I hope to hear from you more. Stay tuned for more at thesportscycle.com

Follow me on Twitter @DonnieDwyer128 or e-mail me at Donald.Dwyer@marquette.edu

Rex Ryan on ESPN First Take talking about “Play like you mean it”

May 5, 2011

This is a great video from ESPN First Take in the morning.  Dana Jacobson interviews New York Jets Head Coach, Rex Ryan about his new book and about his unique coaching style. I hope you enjoy it…

This is a great interview because it is classic Rex. He is honest, hard-hitting, and nonchalant. He really cares about his team and he really thinks he is going to win every single game. I think he brings a good competitive nature that sturs up other fans like the Cowboys, Giants, Patriots, and Dolphins. He makes people angry and he does it for a reason, winning. No, I don’t compare him to Charlie Sheen but having 4 playoff wins in 2 years is impressive. Without him I don’t think football would be as intimidating and ESPN wouldn’t have such good news updates every night…