Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: The faintest whiff of basketball news

Another Monday, another excellent freshman profile from Ryan Thorburn.  This week, he's talking with Sterling, CO's own Xavier Talton.  Combined with an article from last week where Thorburn talked to Josh Scott, you get the feeling that the trio of Colorado freshmen have a passion for hoops in the state, and want to make sure the CU program stays in the national conversation for years to come.  Exciting stuff, make sure you check it out.

Today in the bag, I'm touching on one other basketball note, the Euro Final, the Dwight Howard soap opera, and another win for Tiger.

Click below for the bag...

Coaching Staff Shuffle - 

News broke yesterday afternoon, from multiple sources, that Assistant Coach Tom Abatemarco and Director of Basketball Operations Rodeny Billups are switching roles
Alright, Tom and Rodney switch spots.
Despite another journalistic ethics meltdown, the whole of the news is positive.  Newly minted Coach Billups is an up-and-coming young basketball mind, and one who has deserved a permanent spot on right side of the bench for quite a while.  Additionally, while Coach A had been linked to at least one other open coaching position, the move makes it seem as if Coach Abatemarco will be sticking in Boulder for at least another season (i.e., why make the move now if he's just going to leave in a few weeks?).  Thumbs up all around on this move.

The switch also allows young Coach Billups a more direct hand in off-campus recruiting, which could be key in next year's recruiting battle for in-state stud Dominique Collier

Euro Final - 

Yeesh, that got ugly fast.  A pair of first half goals from Spain all but sealed the deal, as Italy proved incapable of cutting through the terrific Spanish defense.  La Furia Roja were once again set in their their controversial 4-6-0 formation, which does not utilize a traditional striker.  With the midfield depth that Spain possesses, however, a true striker is apparently unnecessary. A few garbage time goals later, and the final line read 4-0, leaving a previously tantalizing final with little inherent drama.
They seem happy.
The win makes Spain 3-for-3 in major tournaments, having won Euro previously in '08 and the World Cup in '10.  Media discussion immediately turned to whether or not this Spanish team is the best in the history of international soccer.  Considering that the competition level and athletic skill of one generation usually outpaces that of all previous ones, to have swept three straight major tournaments in the modern era certainly warrants that consideration.  If this generation of Spanish talent manages to win the next World Cup, there will be no doubt.

Dwight Howard has gone full T.O. on us - 

The Dwight Howard saga continues to baffle me.  A truly gifted center, the big man seemingly can't decide what he wants, one moment professing loyalty, the next decrying blackmail, and openly asking for a ticket to Brooklyn.  Howard's misunderstanding of the word blackmail aside, that's a pretty fast turn into oncoming traffic from someone who has had a a regionally close-up view of LeBron's public evisceration due to poor image management.
C'mon Dwight, make up your mind.
The funny thing is, now that he's expressed his desire for Brooklyn, and only Brooklyn, the Nets may not even have their most enticing piece on hand should he arrive.  Deron Williams continues to treat with his home-town Dallas Mavericks, setting up a potential Baron Davis-Elton Brand moment should Dwight get traded and D-Wil sign with Dallas.  At some point the schadenfreude is going to come home to roost, and my guess is it's going to land on Howard.

Tiger is back, or something - 

Tiger won his third 2012 tournament this weekend, re-igniting the he's back/not back debate for the umpteenth time, and moving the former world #1 into second place on the all-time wins list.  The roller coaster continues. 
A winning Tiger is a happy Tiger.
For what it's worth, beyond the fact that he's currently leading the money and points standings, this vintage of Tiger is beginning to look a lot like the winning vintage of old.  His short game is still shaky, but his overall game is back to reasonable Tiger-ness. The injury seems completely healed, and his swing issues have been resolved.  If competitive, in the hunt Tiger is what you're looking for, then you can consider him back. 

The dominating Tiger?  The one who week-in-week-out crushed opponents at will?  We may never see that again.  But that's OK.  As players age, they tend to lose some heat off their fastball (not everyone can be Paul Konerko, afterall).  Tiger is no different. 

I fully expect that Tiger will continue to win over the final half of his career (he should have 10-15 years left), easily surpassing both Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus for the win titles.  That he'll never be mid-2000s Tiger again is inconsequential.

Happy Monday!

No comments: