Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Unlike some other Olympics, I can host with an English accent

Thank God July is almost over.  These past few weeks have crawled by, leaving me wishing for autumn in the worst way.  August promises to bring with it football, a basketball trip to Europe, the beginning of the home stretch in baseball, and the better part of the Olympics.  While it's not technically fall, August at least lets you see a little of the light at the end of the hot summer tunnel.

Today in the bag, I'll be talking Olympics, Buffs in the NBA's Summer League, and the lead-up to fall football camp.

Additionally, I encourage you to check out the final entry in Ryan Thorburn's freshmen interview series.  Last up is Josh Scott, on the verge of making the most anticipated freshman debut in over a decade.  The team will start their European swing early in August, so expect a ramp-up of hoops discussion a little earlier than normal.

Click below for the bag...

Olympic notes - 

In spite of NBC's best efforts, I've been able to watch the better part of the Olympics live, and without their typical bullshit.  Through a combination of legal, semi-legal, and definitely illegal means, I've consumed what I want, when I want it, eschewing viewing impediments like commercials, tape-delays, and something called "Bob Costas."  The internet is glorious.  After the first weekend, I've noted the following:

- Soccer feels lost - The soccer tournament at the Olympics has always been a third-rate international competition.  I'd even say the U-20 world cup is more interesting/impactful to the world of footy.  The problem is a combination of the roster limitations (U-23, plus three senior eligibles), and the fact that there are better, more capably run tournaments at the international level (World Cup, Confederations Cup, Euro Cup, etc).  The result is that this tournament exists in a weird bubble, seemingly removed from the rest of soccer.

Case-in-point, when watching the Great Britain v UAE match yesterday afternoon, I noticed a shocking lack of singing from the usually boisterous Wembley crowd.  Without the constant stream of chants and choruses from the English fans, the game felt alien from what I've grown accustomed to.  Sing, damnit!

- Phelps Struggles - Michael Phelps dominated in Beijing.  4-years removed from his record-breaking triumph, he has seemingly lost his fastball, so far failing to collect an individual medal.  Even in the relay events, a poor final leg from rival Ryan Lochte kept Phelps from gold.
"Damn, this used to be easy."
I asked my buddy Eric, himself a swimmer, what's the deal.  He replied that the years lost after Beijing to indifference have cost Phelps too much.  Whatever the case, if this is the 2012 Phelps that we're going to get, then he should've retired after '08.  He may eventually capture the all-time medal record as the week goes on, but his legacy is being tarnished with every lackluster showing.

- Buffs in London - CU, while not nearly as prevalent as other Pac-12 schools, is being represented this week by Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp.  Both will compete in the 3,000m Steeplechase over the coming weekend. was kind enough to note their schedule in this article, along with the schedules of alums like Jenny Simpson.  You can also check out the #LondonBuffs hash tag, if you're into that sort of thing.

Buffs in the Summer League - 

Backing away from the international stage, CU is making waves in a decidedly smaller pond.  A 6-pack of former basketball stars are hitting the hardwood in the NBA's Summer League, and some are even creating headlines in the process.
The CU-six in the NBA's Summer League.  From:
Highlighted by, Carlon Brown, Alec Burks, Chris Copeland, David Harrison, Cory Higgins, and Xavier Silas each saw action over the past month in the SL.  By far, the biggest noise was made by Chris Copeland.  The versatile 6-8 forward bullied his way onto the league's radar by averaging 14/4 and making defenders look helpless with his sick cross-over:

The NBA's Summer League can offer both a place to work on skills, and a path to a NBA contract.  Cope has finally earned that last bit, and I can't wait to see him run the floor in Madison Square Garden.

Fall camp starts Sunday - 

Football is back, with a record-setting freshman class in tow.   Hoping to find both a quarterback and a winning formula, the coaching staff has closed practices to both the public and media.  It's probably a smart move to allow the freshmen and QB's to compete behind closed doors and focus on football.  However, I just can't shake the feeling that this move is an attempt by the coaches to hide how bad the team is going to be. 

While I won't have my football previews up for a few more weeks, I'll spoil the lede by saying that I'm extremely pessimistic about the team's chances this year.  Expectations are always going to be low for a young team coming in off of a 3-9 season, and I can't see how depending on a overly-large freshmen corps is going to help much.  Toss in the uncertainty behind center, and I'm seeing a recipe for disaster.

Good thing we're a basketball school now, or I'd be taking this pretty hard.

Happy Monday!

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