Lindsay Whalen: A Winner

The University of Minnesota made a great move in hiring Lindsay Whalen, as their next basketball coach.  Athletic Director Coyle, the robotic mouthpiece for University President Kaler (really the athletic director) got lucky in being able, to convince her to join the Gopher program. The funny thing is the search committee, hadn’t had a chance to meet before the hiring. Kind of shows the inefficiency, and lack of credibility, of a search committee.

The saga began in Hutchinson, MN., in 1995 when Lindsey was in 8th grade and started for the varsity. She led them to 3 consecutive conference championships, was all-state 4 consecutive years, highlighted by winning the state championship in her senior year.

She went on to the University of Minnesota, where she starred for 4 years and achieved the following:

  • All-time leading scorer, scoring average, free throws made, and %.

  • Top Five in assists, steals, 3 pointers made, 3 point %.

  • Led the Gophers to the Final Four in 2004.

  • Named Gopher MVP 4 consecutive years.

  • Avg. attendance in her freshman year, 1,087 to 9,866 her senior year.

On to the Pros, where she has spent 14 years in the WNBA, the last 7 years with the Minnesota Linx, leading them to 4 World Championships.

She is the absolute best pick they could have ever made. What it takes to be a good college coach is 1.) recruiting, and 2.) communication with your players, meaning you are current with what’s happening with the evolution of the game. She is and has been the poster child for Minnesota basketball for over 15 years. She already has some recruiting wins

With 14 years as a point guard in the WNBA, you know she has the X’s and O’s figured out.

Timberwolves Blow a Golden Opportunity

Following game 3 of their first round playoff with Houston, after winning the game 122 to 104, the fans were as high, as they have ever been. It would be interesting to see, what season ticket sales, for next year, were sold. It was virtually impossible to get a ticket for game four.

Comments heard upon leaving the Target Center, after game 3, were:

  • “They figured Harden out, and should shut him down, for the rest of the series”.

  • “We’ve got 3 of the biggest future stars, in the league”.

  • “We’ve got 3 point shooters, we just had to give them a chance”.

  • “I’m getting season tickets next year”.

  • “Isn’t Teague great”?

Comments heard leaving Target Center after game 4, in which the Timberwolves lost by over 20, and gave up 50 points, in the 3rd quarter.

  • “We’ve got to get rid of Thibideau”.

  • “Their shot selection was horrible”.

  • “Can you believe the Timberwolves gave Wiggins a max contract”.

  • “Town’s looked like an uncoordinated high schooler”.

  • “There was no set offense, no coaching”.

  • “They don’t have anybody that can hit the three, regularly”.

The third quarter of game 3 with Houston, showed the Timberwolves, there’s a major difference between the regular season, and playoff basketball. The wolves could play with anyone during the regular season, and no one during the playoffs.

The really sad part was, they had an opportunity to build their fan base, if they had given the Rockets at least a competitive game.

 

Who Can Master The Masters?

I am looking forward to the 2018 Masters, more than any I can remember. Much of it because Tiger is back playing well, and could be in the hunt. Then there’s Phil, Jordan, Bubba, Sergio, DJ, Justin, and all those young bucks coming up.

My wife asked me the other day who I thought would win. I hadn’t even thought about that. I was just looking at the worlds best, in a great competition, settled by a 80 foot put on 18. There are so many playing great golf right now. So let me tell you my favorite:

Phil Mickelson: At 47, Playing some of his best golf. Won 2 weeks ago. Has won 3 green jackets, so he knows how to play Augusta.

Jordan Spieth: Playing good golf. Always in the hunt. His putter was betraying him, but appears to have improved, after a few practices with Brad Faxon.

Tiger Woods: He’s been in the hunt in his last 3 tournaments. You all know how Tiger gets up for the majors. I wouldn’t vote it out. He needs to control his drives, so that the position of his ball, is in the right location, in relation to the pin placement.

Bubba Watson: Has won 2 Masters. Playing great right now. Won the Match Play tournament 2 weeks ago. His accuracy off the tee is worth a couple of shots.

Sergio Garcia: Has been a great player for over 15 years, on the tour. Knows how to win, especially at Augusta, last year’s winner.

Justin Thomas: The real up and comer. Last Years Fed Ex Champ. Has already won 3 times this year. In an interview I saw, he said he is working on controlling his temper. If he is in the hunt could his temper be a factor.

16th Hole Green at Augusta National  821390

Dustin Johnson: Hold’s the # 1 ranking in the world. Is playing well. 3 top 5’s in the past month. He probably has elevated desire to win, based on the fact he had to withdraw last year.

Jason Day: Great young golfer. His recent game isn’t up to his s, but if he coluld start off good, it could propel him to have an outstanding Masters.

Rory McElroy: When McElroy is playing well, he has a real bounce in his step, and an amiable smile on his face. He’s back, and playing great golf.. He has a strong desire to complete the career Grand Slam. Could it be his week?

Matt Kuchar: I’ve been a fan of Kuchar’s since he played at Georgia Tech, and won the low amateur at the 1996 Masters. He is playing the best golf of his career, and has been on the leaderboard, almost every week. I can’t believe, he hasn’t won more on the tour.

That really didn’t pick a winner. So here goes with my top 3:

Phil Mickelson,  Tiger Woods,  Matt Kuchar

King James Sits Alone Atop The Throne

LeBron James scored in double figures for his 867th straight game on Friday Night, setting a record that will be hard to surpass. He had been tied with Michael Jordan.

He accepted the game ball, lifted it over his head, and took time to soak up the cheering crowd, who just witnessed history, and then immediately returned to work.

Following the game, James commented “That’s a good moment, a special moment for my family and for so many kids that look up to me for inspiration, to know that you can actually go out there, and do it and know where I’ve come from”.

James finished the game with 27 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds, in beating the visiting New Orleans Hornets 107-102. The Cavs are currently sitting in 3rd place, in the NBA’s Eastern conference, assured of making the playoffs.

James and the reworked personnel, are still working to achieve a strategy, and an overall fit, for each of the new team members. I’m sure that James will have them ready for the Playoffs.

Chicago White Sox Bring Back Ex-Con as Groundskeeper

Have you heard about the guy released from prison, after serving 23 years, and getting his old job back, with the Chicago White Sox?

It’s true! Nevest Coleman was convicted of murder and rape in 1994, and sentenced to life in prison. The prosecutor originally was pushing for the death penalty, but backed down, after hearing from several character witnesses.

Recent DNA testing showed that a serial rapist committed the crime, leading to the release of Nevest Coleman, in November of 2017.  Coleman was working as a grounds keeper, for the Chicago White Sox, at the the time of his conviction.

After Colemans release his family and friends contacted he White Sox championing to get his old job back . The team gave him a job interview and soon welcomed him back to his old job as groundskeeper at Guaranteed Rate Field — formerly known as Comiskey Park.

“Glad to see him out. Glad to see him back,” said Jerry Powe, who testified on Coleman’s behalf as a character witness at his trial and who is now his supervisor. “I’m so happy for him, me and the White Sox.”

 

Chicago White Sox groundskeeper Nevest Coleman, center, laughs with friend and fellow grounds crew Harry Smith Jr., left, and friend and now supervisor Jerry Powe, at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Monday, March 26, 2018. The Chicago Tribune reports that DNA evidence led prosecutors last year to vacate the conviction of 49-year-old Nevest Coleman. He'd been convicted in a 1994 rape and murder. He was released from prison in November and declared innocent last month. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago White Sox groundskeeper Nevest Coleman, center, laughs with friend and fellow grounds crew Harry Smith Jr., left, and friend and now supervisor Jerry Powe.  (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune via AP) 

With all the bad stuff you hear on the news every nite, it’s heartwarming to hear a story like this, and in a small way its sports related.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March Madness is Mad

 

The 2018 NCAA Basketball tournament has had more upsets, than any year I remember. The other interesting fact, is for the most part, they weren’t buzzer beaters. Following are the most surprising games in the tournament, from my standpoint.

 

  • UMBC’s ( University of Maryland Baltimore County) win over Virginia featured the first win by a #16 seed, over a #1 seed. They didn’t just sneak by, they beat the#1 seed 74-54. The Retriever’s lost their magic 3 point touch,going 6 for 22 against Kansas State, and lost 50-43.

  • Chicago-Loyola, the #11 seed, had three wins over  Miami the #6 seed,  Tennessee who was the #3 seed, and Nevada, the #7 seed. The teams inspiration comes from 98 year old, Sister Jean Schmidt, the teams Chaplain, who has stated that God is for Loyola.

  • The surprising Nevada Wolf Pack (#7 seed) beat the Texas Longhorns ( #10 seed) in round 1, followed that with a last minute shot to beat Cincinnati (#2 seed) 75-73. This was one of the most entertaining games in the tournament. They came from 22 points down. in the second half, which was the second largest comeback in NCAA tournament history. ESPN had a probability factor of .o1% for Nevada to comeback from 22 down. Nevada lost to another Cinderella team, Loyola of Chicago in the Sweet Sixteen

  • How about Buffalo Bulls (# 13 seed) defeating  Arizona (# 4 seed) by over 20 points. This was Buffalos 1st ever NCAA Tourney win. They eventually succumbed to Kentucky (#5 seed).

  • Texas A& M’s (# 7 seed) run, which included a victory over North Carolina (# 2 seed).

  • Kansas State (#9 seed) reaching the Elite 8.

  • Florida State (#9 seed) reaching the Elite 8.

These are the games that make it Madness. It also shows why the game is played, because we don’t give trophies to those based on their poll ranking.

Selection Sunday Secrets

Selection Sunday is this Sunday, 3/11/2018. Always a day with great anticipation, and a chance for you to compare your bracketizing with the all-knowing NCAA Selection Committee.

NCAA-mens-bracket-for-2018-basketball-tournament-1024x796

You have a good handle on whose going to be in the tournament, and approximately their seed number. However you have no idea where they will play. It seems they want to put the most teams, the longest way, from their fan base. Knowing all of this doesn’t help in your selection process.

I’m an avid fan, and can never win a pool, or fair well on the CBS Brackets. Last year I spent a good week going over all the stats, rivalries, past history, and still came in 580,000 place.

I quizzed a lot of people I know, about their strategy. My granddaughter, Maggie, beat me last year, by picking the team’s nicknames. she liked. Also beating me, were people who picked by colors, some by the seed #(that’s no fun), alphabetically, and one picked by the colleges, that were closest to their playoff city.

After all this analysis, I think it’s best if you select winners after the game is over.

The-NCAA-tournament-gets-underway