Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

Is it too early for NCAA Bracket Busters? Oakland University says no. In fact, the Golden Grizzlies are already begging to be advanced on your tournament bracket.

No need to check your calendar, it’s only December. But the Golden Grizzlies are already making a case for their third invitation to the national tournament, and second as many years.

Last year, Oakland made a quick exit dropping a first-round decision (89-66) to Pittsburgh, but early indications point toward a possible Cinderella story this season.

So far in the 2010-2011 campaign, the Golden Grizzlies have played against four top 25 teams and have had legitimate shots to win three. Tuesday was the fourth in Knoxville taking on the seventh-ranked Tennessee Volunteers.

Walking into an arena with so much history and tradition could have been overwhelming for the Summit League leaders, but they proved the previous three upset attempts weren’t flukes when the Golden Grizzlies defeated the Volunteers 89-82.
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Chicago native and Bulls star Derrick Rose named 2008-09 NBA Rookie of the Year

Derrick RoseCHICAGO – Just when it might have seemed like things were starting to go sour in the Windy City, a bit of positive news was released on Wednesday.

The Blackhawks dropped their second straight after going up on the Flames 2-0, and the Bulls had hopes of returning home with a 2-0 lead on the defending champs but instead will have to play at least three more games before advancing to the second round.

The good news is that both teams will have home games this weekend. But wait, it gets better. The Bulls not only have the chance to go up 3 games to 1 on the Celtics at home, they will have the 2008-2009 Rookie of the Year on their side.

As if it is a shock to anyone, Derrick Rose won this year’s award and left very little doubt that he was the best first-year player in the NBA this season. For a quickly rising star that has never been on a losing team, he has likely been humbled in his first season at the professional level, but has made it very clear his work is far from being done.

Even though he won the award, he still feels as though he has a lot to prove.

“I still have to go out there and play just to show people I deserve to be at this level,” Rose told the team’s Web site. “There was no one moment (when I knew I belonged at the pro level); it’s kind of an ongoing thing. You can’t ever let up in this league. I think I play hard enough and people realize that I deserve to be up here. I just need to continue doing those things that have gotten me to this point.”

When the Bulls drafted Rose with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft, questions were immediately raised as to whether or not it was a good pick.

No one doubted the fact that he could make an immediate impact. The arguments against Rose going to Chicago centered more around whether or not he could live up to the hype and play through the pressure of being a star in the same town he grew up in.

In his quiet, humble way, he answered those questions and has so far averaged 23 points, nine assists and five rebounds for a team that wasn’t expected to make the playoffs, but is now in good position to knock off the defending champs.

As if putting up quality numbers during the regular season wasn’t enough, he set a rookie franchise record scoring 36 points in his playoff debut, a record previously set by Michael Jordan, and tied the mark held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Rose will forever be compared to Jordan, and he is the only one that can escape from No. 23’s shadow. He has already won over the hearts of Chicago fans and has the makings of being one of the greatest in franchise history. The Bulls struck gold with Jordan and had luck on their side in even coming close to getting Rose.

Chicago franchises have retired the numbers of great players and have made the mistake of letting even greater ones go. This is one find the Bulls would be wise to never let go. And if Rose has his way, he’ll retire in the city he learned to play the game.

“…I don’t think I could play anywhere else,” Rose said. “Being here in my hometown is the perfect fit. I’m blessed to be here right now. Our fans have been great. They have never gave up on us. And hopefully those who didn’t believe are on the bandwagon now and will push us into the second round towards greatness.”

And hopefully greatness will push the Bulls toward another championship.

john-calipariLEXINGTON – Having been granted permission for Kentucky to speak to John Calipari, the only thing left is for the Memphis head coach to accept the job. It makes complete sense and he is basically in a win-win situation.

Sure, he’s had success in Conference USA, but he will never receive the level of respect at Memphis he would at Kentucky. One also has to believe Calipari is ready to be relevant again in a power conference. Leaving Maryland was probably the best thing he could have done in terms of relocating to nicer climates, but there has to be an itch to once again be on the big stage. The idea of competing on a regular basis with the likes of Tennessee, Florida, LSU and Arkansas has to, at the very least, bring a smile to his face.

Then there is the long-standing coaching rivalry with current Louisville general Rick Pitino to consider. Battling for state bragging rights and renewing that rivalry has likely jumpstarted Calipari’s moving van. It wouldn’t be surprising to find out that Calipari’s belongings have already made it past Nashville and across the Tennessee-Kentucky border.rick-pitino

But before he rushes into any decision that might be pushed forward with Pitino in mind, the Memphis coach might be good to ease up on the gas pedal.

Just two weeks ago, it was overheard at a national junior college tournament, where Division I scouts and coaches were scouring the talent in hopes of picking up a potential transfer, that Pitino had purchased a home in Tucson, Ariz. It could be possible Pitino just wants a vacation home, but with rumors already swirling, it is more likely he is planning on making it his permanent residence and taking over head coaching duties of the Arizona Wildcats as his new gig.

Both moves would be good for both coaches, and with little consolation. Kentucky and Arizona have storied traditions making a switch a virtual no-brainer if the idea of changing jobs is even remotely in the backs of their minds. Both programs recruit themselves and there would be little scrutiny on either Calipari or Pitino if they chose to leave their respective schools. Who could blame them? And with the success each have had in recent years, it’s not as if they would be leaving for necessarily greener pastures. And the residing Athletic Directors would have no problem attracting the most qualified replacements.

The only questions left to be answered are who takes over at Memphis and Louisville, and when do the movers officially arrive?