acCUSE-d Of Not Paying Enough Attention

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the sport. He has been the head coach at his alma mater since 1976 and will probably retire after next season. He has spent a lifetime building a legacy that is now going to be tarnished because he wasn’t micromanaging the basketball program enough.

Jim Boeheim

The NCAA investigation pointed out some not so good things about Syracuse basketball. This included academic fraud and improper payments to players by a booster. It’s bad but many feel that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. That punishment includes vacating wins and suspending Boeheim for several conference games next season.

The 94-page NCAA report reads in part, ‘the head basketball coach’s failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and monitor his staff…‘ which is a direct slap in the face to Boeheim. The NCAA uses this line to essentially say that the coach should have known what was going on. Boeheim took responsibility and apologized even though he feels that the program was far from running amuck. Regardless, Syracuse will give up scholarships, vacate wins in both basketball and football and the AD has even stepped down.

These sanctions fall on the basketball program while the memory of the Bernie Fine incident is still fresh on everyone’s mind. Boeheim withstood that storm but these latest sanctions appeared to be the straw that broke the 70 year olds back.

Essentially it’s been one thing after another since Boeheim led Syracuse to the  NCAA Title back in 2003. Yes he probably isn’t as “on top” of the program as he was back when he was 50 but who really is “on top” of their program? There are only so many hours in the day and the job is hard enough to do when you are in your 40’s much less in your 70’s.

Does Boeheim deserve to be run out of the game by the NCAA because of these latest violations? Probably not but he is getting a bit of a break. He is getting his choice as to when to leave when a coach of lesser standing may have been fired on the spot. Regardless if the NCAA vacates wins or not, we know who was standing on the sideline for Syracuse during that time. We know the legacy Boeheim built and not even the NCAA can take that away from the memory of basketball fans.

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The Passing Of Greatness

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Dean Smith died at his home Saturday night at the age of 83. He suffered from dementia, a condition that robbed him of his memory. He is not the only legendary basketball coach being inflicted with dementia. Former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt suffers from Alzheimer’s which is a common cause of dementia.

Dean Smith

Dementia should be filed under ‘horrors of the world’. It is a combination of symptoms that effect the memory. Just imagine for a moment living a full and fruitful life and then not being able to remember the things you’ve done or people you have loved.

Dean Smith wasn’t able to sit back and bask in his accomplishments and neither will Pat Summitt. All the championships, the wins, the players, the relationships and the great moments are eventually lost from memory.

Tommy Tomlinson wrote an incredible piece last March about Dean Smith and what he was going through. On this day where the basketball world remembers Dean Smith, it is a sobering read.

The Pelican Brief?

Since we now have seen the scary Pelican mascot we thought it appropriate to repost this story from last year. 

By Dave Trausneck @trausneck

New Orleans appears to enjoy a good laugh… or maybe they were too drunk to realize their NBA franchise is about to have the worst name in the history of professional sports.

PELICAN-BRIEF

Team owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle apparently want a team name to reflect the state of Louisiana.  So when David Stern calls out “With the 5th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans select…”

95% of those watching will start laughing. 4.5% will throw their Abita beer at the television.  The other half-percent will be Anthony Davis’ unibrow furrowing in disgust and calling Adam Silver’s office demanding a three-team trade sending him to Miami in exchange for 3,000 copies of “The Pelican Brief” on VHS, cash considerations and an immediate investigation into who killed Justices Rosenberg and Jensen.

The Pelicans. Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of opposing players like a water bird with a beak like Glen Quagmire’s nose.

With an ode to the 1993 movie starring Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts, this needs a little bit of history to explain.

The Brown Pelican is the state bird of Louisiana and “Pelicans” was the former name of the city’s minor league baseball team from 1887-1959 and 1977. It’s worth noting that Benson owned the rights to the name Pelicans.

It’s normal for sports franchises to honor the history of their roots. Maybe Benson has salt left in his mouth from when the Jazz picked up and moved to Salt Lake City decades ago and kept the name.  Benson and his wife would be better off renaming the team the Hurricanes than the Pelicans.  Even the Sugarcanes sounds sweeter than the Pelicans.  The New Orleans Corruption could probably steal a few votes in a public naming contest.

But Benson might have to put in a call to White & Blazevich to settle the score.

And if all else fails… season ticket holders can look forward to posing pictures with this hanging around their kids. http://www.starcostumes.com/lgimages/MU42155.jpg

The Real Work Done on Christmas

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Certain sports seem to earn certain days or holidays. Football during Thanksgiving weekend, College Football on New Years Day, and the NBA on Christmas Day.

Years ago, there would be only one or two NBA games on Christmas Day. Now there are five and they’re doing rather well. The Thunder at Heat game was the fourth highest rated NBA regular season game ever on ABC and was the highest rated regular season game ever in Oklahoma City and Miami. While these numbers are very good there are some other things to consider, like all of the people who work.

There were five NBA games on Christmas which means ten teams. That’s not just the players and coaches but the support staff, media, and arena personnel. From janitors to hot dog vendors to the IT department. The Staples Center had it tougher than most too this past Christmas. They had two games to work. First the Knicks vs the Lakers than the late game between the Nuggets and the Clippers. That’s a long day on a regular day much less a holiday.

While we expect certain people to be working on holidays such as doctors, policemen, and firemen we rarely think about those who are taking the tickets at the arena. Those cooking the food for the luxury boxes or those pulling cable for the cameraman as he tries to get just the right shot of Kobe Bryant walking to the bench after a big play.

The ratings show that sports on holiday’s work and as long as people are watching there will continue to be events on days such as Christmas. So while you enjoy the comfort of family and friends remember that it’s not just the teams that make sports happen.

BALL DON’T LIE

BALLDONTLIE

90 seconds. That’s how long it took for the New York Knicks Rasheed Wallace to be ejected from a game against the Phoenix Suns. 90 seconds.

He had just entered the game when he was called for a technical foul. When Suns player Goran Dragic missed a free throw Wallace shouted out, “BALL DON’T LIE!” The ref’s then delivered a second technical foul to Wallace which sent him to the showers before he could even break a sweat.

Whether you agree with the call or not. Whether you like Rasheed Wallace and his 317 career technical fouls or not, you have to be impressed with this scene. Wallace could be heard clearly in the arena and on TV which says something for his vocals and not a lot for the New York fans. It would be safe to say that fans at a PGA event make more noise than the Knicks fans. In the end the NBA, the Knicks and Wallace can feel good about one thing, creating Internet gold.

BALL DON’T LIE!