Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cincinnati Reds 2009 Team Stats

Here are the most intriguing team stats:

Pitching
The Reds have the 9th best ERA in major league baseball at the moment with a 4.11 team ERA. If it wasn't for a couple Mike Lincoln blow-ups they could be in the top-5. Surprisingly enough the top-5 pitching clubs at the moment are the Pirates at the top followed by the Mariners, Cardinals, Royals, and A's.

Hitting
The Reds are 29th out of the 30 teams for team batting average at .235 a game, pathetic. They're also 24th in home runs, 27th in RBI's, but hey they're 10th in strikeouts.... It's funny because we used to be an incredible hitting team and would lead or would be at the top of the majors in home runs and RBI's on a consistent basis. Now we have good pitching, it would be nice to be good or at least mediocre at both.

Fielding
Currently rank 28th out of 30 teams in fielding percentage. 18 errors so far this season, that's almost one a game.

Recruit Eric Bledsoe to Narrow List

Word on the recruiting trail is highly ranked guard Eric Bledsoe has narrowed his list of schools to Memphis and Kentucky. Bledsoe is spending Thursday in Memphis meeting with head coach Josh Pastner and his staff then traveling to Lexington on Friday to visit with Coach Calipari and Kentucky. Bledsoe, who previously named Florida as his top, has now dropped the Gators off the list for unknown reasons. Bledsoe has been put on the back burner from a lot of teams who are heavily pursuing top ranked recruit John Wall. Many say that Kentucky is a front runner for Wall but he has not stepped foot on campus and it would be hard for me to imagine him coming to Kentucky without even a visit. Wall recently visited Miami and came out pretty impressed. Wall is a definite one and done and don't be shocked if he does decide to spend his one in Miami rather than Kentucky.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

HBO will feature Bengals on Hard Knocks

There are numerous reports confirming leaked information that the Cincinnati Bengals will be the feature of the HBO series Hard Knocks. For those of you who have not seen the show Hard Knocks follows NFL teams during training camp. They typically choose a handful of players to spotlight which normally includes some veterans, draft picks, and free agents trying to make it. The Bengals would be a very intriguing team to follow with personalities such as Chad Johnson and stories like Andre Smith, Tank Johnson, Chris Henry. This will be a great season to watch.

C. Trent Rosecrans Blog

If you are like me and you made a daily habit of reading the very talented C. Trent Rosecrans every day, you can find him blogging here http://ctrentrosecrans.com/

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More changes at 1530 Homer

Sadly one of the best parts of our local sports radio station is changing. C. Trent Rosencrans will no longer be there "blogging machine." It's now being reported that there were several layoffs at Clear Channel. C. Trent is not alone, Alan Cutler and Paul Daugherty are also out! This doesn't come too long after two fixtures of the sports talk landscape were already let go when Andy Furhman and Richard Skinner were fired. What a shame! C. Trent and Doc were two of the best things going in this city.

More information to come.

**Update**
The only local programming that 1530 Homer will have is Lance McCallister from 3-6. Lance will also do the Reds pre-game show. Mo Egger was retained by Clear Channel but will not host a show on the air. Producers Travis Holmes, Matt Steinmann and Mark Chalifoux were also let go from Clear Channel. This is a real shame, we are losing our local sports talk market which was one of the strongest that I have heard. I spend a lot of time listening to local sports talk and we will lose a part of our community. I would imagine that Fox Sports National radio will be picked up by 1530 homer.

Snap Judgements on the Bengals

Everyone in Bengals land seems to be very optomistic following the draft this year. I agree that this was a strong draft but we cannot get too far ahead of ourselves. Where will the offense come from? We still have Palmer as long as he can stay healthy for the season but we lost our productive #1 receiver. We have added Coles but will we be forced to water down the already vanilla offenase to accomodate the new personel? I think the defense is stronger but I still question the secondary. Overall I think the draft will prove to be fruitful but I am still not convinced that this will make us a playoff team. What do you think? Will this draft put us over the edge?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bengals Release RB Chris Perry and Others

In the day after the draft the Cincinnati Bengals have terminated the contracts of five players which include last years starting RB Chris Perry. The cuts include:

Chris Perry, RB
Perry was drafted by the Bengals in the first round of the 2004 draft. He battled injury throughout most of his career but was named the starter in 2008. Perry played in 13 games for the Bengals in 2008 starting 6. He rushed for 269 yards averaging 20.7 ypg.

Mike Doss, DB
Doss was acquired by the Bengals in 2008, he played in three games but only registered 1 tackle. Doss showed some promise for Indianapolis early in his career but slowly fizzled after just three seasons with the Colts.

Nate Lawrie, TE
Lawrie played in 8 games for the Bengals in 2008 starting for three of them. He only managed 2 receptions for 11 yards on the season. Lawrie was acquired by the Bengals in 2007.

Eric Henderson, DE/LB
Signed as a College Free Agent in 2006 Henderson spent most of his time with the Bengals on the practice squad. He did manage to make the roster in 2008 and get two tackles before injuring his neck in December and being placed on injured-reserve.

Gary Russell, RB
Russell is a three year veteran of the league and was acquired by the Bengals on April 17th. Russell played the last two seasons with Pittsburgh where last year he rushed for 77 yards but had 3 TD's.

Reviewing Mel Kiper's Draft

I wanted to compare how close Mel Kiper comes to predicting the NFL draft with his Mock Draft. Anyone who follows the NFL Draft has heard of Mel Kiper, and he gets paid a lot of money to prognosticate the draft each year. Below is a list of Kiper's Top 15 selections in the mock draft. The bolded names are the ones that he got correct:

1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
2. St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest (Drafted Tyson Jackson)
4. Seattle Seahawks: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC (Drafted Aaron Curry)
5. Cleveland Browns: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU (Traded down, Jets Drafted Mark Sanchez)
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
7. Oakland Raiders: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech (Drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey)
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
9. Green Bay Packers: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
10. San Francisco 49ers: Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas (Drafted Michael Crabtree)
11. Buffalo Bills: Brian Cushing, OLB, USC (Drafted Aaron Maybin)
12. Denver Broncos: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee (Drafted Knowshon Moreno)
13. Washington Redskins: Aaron Maybin, DE/OLB, Penn State (Drafted Brian Orakpo)
14. New Orleans Saints: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
15. Houston Texans: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State

So Kiper got 6/15 correct in the first 15 picks of the first round.

Former Kentucky Recruit Signs with Gonzaga

G.J. Vilarino, point guard from McKinney (Texas), and first committment from former Kentucky Wildcat coach Billy Gillispie has committed to Gonzaga. Vilarino re-opened his recruiting after Kentucky fired Gillispie. The unranked PG was being courted heavily by Mick Cronin and the Cincinnati Bearcats after he was released from Kentucky.

2009 NFL AFC North Draft Results

It's always good to know your competition, so below is a recap of how the teams in the AFC North Division drafted:

Baltimore Ravens
1 23 Michael Oher OT Mississippi
2 57 Paul Kruger DE/OLB Utah
3 88 Lardarius Webb CB Nicholls State
5 137 Jason Phillips ILB TCU
5 149 Davon Drew TE East Carolina
6 185 Cedric Peerman RB Virginia

Cleveland Browns
1 21 Alex Mack C California
2 36 Brian Robiskie WR Ohio State
50 Mohamed Massaquoi WR Georgia
52 David Veikune DE Hawaii
4 104 Kaluka Maiava LB Southern Cal
6 177 Don Carey CB Norfolk State
191 Coye Francies CB San José State
195 James Davis RB Clemson

Pittsburgh Steelers
1 32 Evander Hood DT Missouri
3 79 Kraig Urbik OG Wisconsin
3 84 Mike Wallace WR Mississippi
3 96 Keenan Lewis CB Oregon State
5 168 Joe Burnett CB Central Florida
5 169 Frank Summers RB UNLV
6 205 Ra'Shon Harris DT Oregon
7 226 A.Q. Shipley C Penn State
7 241 David Johnson TE Arkansas State

Graham Taylor make MLB Debut

2002 Dixie Heights High School graduate Graham Taylor made his Major League Baseball debut Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies in Miami. Taylor, who attended school at Miami University in Oxford, has been a highly touted prospect in the Florida farm system for the past couple of years. Unfortunately for Graham he would probably like to forget his first start in the MLB. Taylor was shelled by the Phillies for four earned runs on four hits and six walks over 3 2/3 innings. Taylor was 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA and a 10/6 K/BB ratio in three starts in Double A before the call up. Taylor, who is 24 started against Philadelphia pitcher Jamie Moyer, who is 46. Not known for overpowering stuff, Taylor is typically a control pitcher who couldn't find his control on Sunday. He is 0-1 on the season with a 9.82 ERA. He is scheduled to start Friday in Chicago but don't be too surprised if they send him back down to get him a little more prepared for this level.

This week in Reds Baseball- April 27th

- The Redlegs opened the week rather strong with a win against Houston on Monday, they were shelled on Tuesday in Chicago but rebounded to win the series against the Cubs. Through this pivotal road trip in April the Reds took 2-3 in Milwaukee, 3-4 in Houston, 2-3 in Chicago, and then 1-2 at home against Atlanta.

- Cincinnati so far is 7-3 on the Road and 3-5 at home.

- Cincinnati will open their series with Houston facing Roy Oswalt, Oswalt threw six scoreless against the Reds for a no decision when the Astros beat the Reds 2-1 in Houston.

-Chris Dickerson was replaced in the lineup Sunday with Laynce Nix. Dickerson has been struggling thus far this season but this doesn't look like a long term move at this point.

- Micah Owings got his first win as a Red Sunday, and first win since May 25, 2008. Owings went seven innings on the mound and 2-3 at the plate.

- Jay Bruce had an excellent week last week going 10/22 for a .455 average with 4 HR and 8 RBI.

- Last week we took a look at the hitting statistics for the Reds, and this week continues to bring the same issues. Despite flashes of offense the Reds are still struggling at the plate only averaging about 7 hits per game. Lets compare the progress that was made:

AVG as of 4/27
C- Ramon Hernandez .255 +
1B- Joey Votto .371 +
2B- Brandon Phillips .167 -
SS- Alex Gonzalez .152 +
3B- Edwin Encarnacion .136 -
RF- Jay Bruce .286 +
CF- Willy Taveras .273 +
LF- Chris Dickerson .190 -

+ denotes increase in average, - denotes decrease in average

NL Central Standings

Cardinals 13-6
Pirates 11-7 (1.5)
Reds 10-8 (2.5)
Cubs 9-8 (3)
Brewers 8-10 (4.5)
Astros 7-12 (6)

This week's Schedule:
Monday Apr. 27 7:10PM Houston
Tuesday Apr. 28 7:10PM Houston
Wednesday Apr. 29 7:10PM Houston
Friday May 1 7:05PM at Pittsburgh
Saturday May 2 7:05PM at Pittsburgh
Sunday May 3 1:35PM at Pittsburgh

Reds Statistical Leaders
AVG 0.371 Votto
HOME RUNS 5 Bruce
RBI 19 Votto
STEALS 4 Taveras
ERA 2.00 Harang
WINS 3 Arroyo
STRIKEOUTS 22 Volquez
SAVES 6 Cordero

Grading the Bengals Draft

There are a lot of people who believe you cannot truly grade an NFL draft class until after five years. Which is a very valid argument, the "studs" of this draft class may turn out to be duds, only time will tell. But we still take a time to grade the draft, which is exactly what we at NKYSportsWorld will do:

Bengals Draft Grade: B- The Bengals landed a huge OT in Andre Smith in the first round with Eugene Monroe still on the board. We will be watching this to unfold throughout the years as negativity spread about Smith's maturity after the season. But most indications were that Smith was the #1 OT on their board. There is a huge upside, and you cannot discount what he did on the field for Alabama. USC LB Rey Maualuga was projected for many to be a first rounder but fell down the draft board to the Bengals in the second round, some say that Maualuga has some bad habits of roaming and losing focus on his position. But Maualuga can bring that swagger and intensity to the AFC North and a Bengals defense who has been lacking that vocal leader.
Smith and Maualuga along with DE Michael Johnson, TE Chase Coffman, and P Kevin Huber were all great picks at their position in the draft. Questions can be raised surrounding Bernard Scott, RB out of Abiline Christian. His numbers may be a little lower for the Bengals only having five arrests on his record thus far. An evening with Chris Henry could help pull those numbers up! Overall the Bengals drafted for their needs, with all of us scratching our heads last year in the second round and beyond we can be optimistic this year that we filled some voids that this team needed to fill.

Here is what some others had to say:

ESPN's Mel Kiper: B
The Bengals had a lot of picks and they did a good job getting good quality with their quantity. Andre Smith, Rey Maualuga and Michael Johnson are great ways to start a draft for any team. These guys could fill big holes for the Bengals. The fourth-round selection of offensive lineman Jonathan Luigs was a little high, but it wasn't crazy. The late-round picks weren't anything to write home about, but they did a good job of getting strength in numbers and getting some depth for their team.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: B+
For a team that has been ripped for poor drafting the past decade or so, they did a really nice job. This draft might just make them a playoff team.

Sporting News' Clifton Brown: A
Love this draft, if tackle Andre Smith and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga keep their heads on straight. Smith might be the best tackle, and Maualuga has first-round talent. Defensive end Michael Johnson is highly skilled but must be more consistent, and tight end Chase Coffman could be a nice target for Carson Palmer.

NBC: B -
Was there every any doubt the Bengals would draft the player with the most off-field question marks? Left tackle Andre Smith is a massive talent, but is massive risk for an undisciplined team. He fills a huge position of need, and second-round pick USC Rey Maualuga was a great value, adding toughness to an emerging defense. Cincy went boom or bust with other picks like DE Michael Johnson and RB Bernard Scott, who was been arrested five times! The Bengals just can?t change their stripes.


USA Today's Larry Weisman: B
OT Andre Smith carries question marks, but he is a superior blocker. LB Rey Maualuga slipped into the second round and should bring toughness to the middle of a leaky run defense. Some saw DE Michael Johnson as a first-round talent, and the Bengals got him in the third. TE Chase Coffman is a steal in the third.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Cincinnati Bengals NFL Draft Rundown

For the first time in a long time I'm happy with the state of the Cincinnati Bengals after the NFL Draft. Every year I sit on the couch and criticize at least three or more moves they make, this year it's hard to find one, at least in the first four rounds. Also, it seems the critics and sports analysts are agreeing with me and ranking the Bengals draft class as one of the best, if not the best in the NFL. Listed below is the Bengals draft including each players 2008 stats.

1 6(6) Andre Smith OT Alabama
Good news for Carson Palmer because Smith considers the QB to be his mother.... all I know is the guy is a beast and only let up 1 sack in the toughest conference in college football last year.

2 6(38) Rey Maualuga ILB USC
The man reecks havoc on the field and intimidates offensive lineman. Although he took a step back last year in the sack column he still produced solid numbers on a linebacker heavy team: 80 tackles, 2 interception, 1 touchdown.

3 6(70) Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech
This could be the teams biggest sleeper in the draft. Not to be confused with the track star, Johnson, was a stud for the Yellow Jackets putting together 45 tackles, 9 sacks and an interception which led to a touchdown last year. We need someone that can pressure the quarterback, and this 6'7 freak could fill the void over time.

3 34(98) Chase Coffman TE Missouri
So you're telling me I have to retire my Ben Utecht jersey already? Coffman put up huge pass catching numbers last year recording 90 reception for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns! He broke his ankle and like Michael Crabtree couldn't participate in the NFL combine, which led his stock falling in the draft.

4 6(106) Jonathan Luigs OC Arkansas
Was voted the top center in college football after his junior season, all while blocking for Darren McFadden. He had a topsy-turvy year in 2008 under a new coach but he has to be as good as Eric Ghiacuc.....right?

5 6(142) Kevin Huber PT Cincinnati
Love this pick! Huber was voted the best punter in college football the past two seasons and it's great to see a deserving homegrown boy fulfill his childhood dream. Anyone that averages over 45 yards a punt and pins there opponents inside the twenty 25+ times a year is okay in my book.

6 6(179) Morgan Trent CB Michigan
This is the first Bengals pick that I started to question. thought there were better corners available at the time but Marvin and the gang remembered Trent during there days of scouting Leon Hall at the University of Michigan. Trent put up 41 tackles and recorded 3 interceptions for the struggling Wolverines.

6 36(209) Bernard Scott RB Abilene Christian
Here we go.... it seems like the Bengals pick a guy each year with a troubled past and Scott fits the bill. We like giving guys "second chances", especially when they put up insane number like Scott has: 2,156 yards on the ground and 28 touchdowns, couple that with 47 reception for 826 yards and six touchdowns, ridiculous!

7 6(215) Taufui Vakapuna RB Brigham Young
My favorite Cincinnati athlete name since Wily Mo Pena. He will be fighting for the fullback spot with Jeremi "Give me a Big Mac" Johnson. He did record 291 yards on the ground for 3 scores last season.

7 40(249) Clinton McDonald DT Memphis
Seven sacks in his senior campaign and was named a 1st team all C-USA selection. He'll be fighting for a spot on the roster to say the least.

7 43(252) Freddie Brown WR Utah
Chris Henry's physique without the baggage (6'4, 215 lbs.) Caught 77 balls for 900 yards and 7 scores last year. Why not draft Quann Cosby here?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bengals Day One

Wow! You have to feel happy about the first day. I feel like the Bengals got a lot of value in their positions. Andre Smith was ranked as the #1 player on most boards right after the college football season...you know the football field, where they actually play football. He had some immature moments off the field, no doubt. He doesn't look great with his shirt off, but like Dave Lapham said, have you seen Willie Anderson with his shirt off? Just watch the tape and you'll see how he dominates the competition. I think he was a great choice.

The second choice may be even more exciting. The Bengals got a real AFC North type of football player. Rey Maualuga was projected to go #12 by The Sporting News. We got him at 38. He is intense! He puts fear into the offense. He flies all over the field and hits hard. He is that vocal, nasty, intense linebacker that the successful AFC North teams have always had. I was hoping for a center in the 2nd round before the day started, but if Maualuga is sitting there you have to take him. Plus, communication is key for linebackers and he has already built that with Keith Rivers, they played for 2 years together at USC. Loved that pick!

Tomorrow I am hoping for a center. Wood, Unger and Mack are already gone. I think Antoine Caldwell will probably be there, the center from Alabama. I still think the Bengals will be looking for a RB in this draft as well. If thats the case, it could be Big Ten Player of the Year, Shonn Greene out of Iowa. Mel Kiper has 4 tight ends in his list of top available players, the Bengals could be interested in a TE as well.

All in all I am pretty excited about the first day. We always question one or both picks in the 1st and 2nd rounds. I don't feel that uneasiness this time. >

Why Basketball is King in Kentucky


I found this posted on Kentucky Sports Radio, thought I would share.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Great Weekend for Cincinnati Sports

This weekend, especially Saturday, is a HUGE day for sports in the Cincinnati area. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you ask) I will be unable to attend the events due to other commitments.

This is an overview of whats on tap in Cincinnati sports this weekend:

Saturday and Sunday NFL Draft
Could this be the beginning of a good year or will we be left again scratching our heads?

Reds vs. Braves in weekend series at GABP
The reds are 3 games over .500 for first time since April 2007

Cincinnati Cyclones face Elmira in the Kelly Cup semi-finals at US Bank Arena
Game 1 Friday, Game 2 Saturday

The Big East champion UC football team spring game on Saturday at Nippert
Watch as former offensive players Marcus Barnett, Demetrius Jones, and Marcus Waugh move to the defensive side to aid a team that lost 10 starters from defense last season.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cincinnati Bengals: Top 10 Draft Busts Under Mike Brown

Listed below is a list of what I believe to be Mike Brown’s biggest draft busts. Brown was recently named the #1 worst-decision maker in the NFL draft by Yahoo Sports. Brown took over ownership in 1991 and has been responsible for every draft since 1992. The rankings go from 10 to 1, 1 being the worst.

10. Keiwan Ratliff (2004 – 2nd Round, 49th pick, CB from Florida):
The Bengals drafted Ratliff and immediately game him the chance to take over as one of their key corners, as players such as Tory James and Deltha O’Neal were aging. Ratliff seemed lazy on the field at times and in three full seasons with the Bengals Ratliff only managed to average 33 tackles and one interception a year. I can still remember Ratliff getting burned by elite receivers clear as day. Good luck with the Indy.

9. Chris Perry (2004 – 1st Round, 26th pick, RB from Michigan):
Oh the Bengals thought they found a gem in Chris Perry at the end of the 1st round in 2004… boy were they wrong. Sure, Perry has been plagued by injuries but the thing is he’s been given a chance to come back and was even given the starting nod in 2008, after sitting out 2007. People still believed they would possibly see the 2005 version of Perry but instead they received 269 yards and a 2.6 YPC average on the ground. I partially blame Michigan for his injuries as he was used as a work-horse in college, averaging close to 35 carries per game and was even given 51 carries in one game!

8. Odell Thurman (2004 – 2nd Round, 48th pick, LB from Georgia):
You may be saying to yourself how can a guy who put up 98 tackles, 5 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles be considered a bust in his lone season? One reason, the Bengals took a chance on Odell although he had a troubled past. After violating team rules the Bengals game him one more chance, and then one more…. You know what the end result was. A kid with this kind of potential can’t take this gift for granted. What guys like David Pollack would give to be able to play the game again. You’re a bust not because of how you played in your lone year on the field but because how great you could’ve been.

7. Marco Battaglia (1995 – 2nd Round, 39th pick, TE from Rutgers):
This highly sought after tight end once put up 13 catches for 183 yards and 3 touchdowns in one game at Rutgers. Battaglia never amassed more than one touchdown or more than 160 yards in one of his five seasons with the Bengals, enough said.

6. John Copeland (1993 – 1st Round, 5th pick, DE from Alabama):
Copeland played for one of the best defenses in NCAA football history during his 1992 campaign at Alabama where he was a part of the national title winning Crimson Tide. Copeland was suppose to resurrect a horrendous Bengals defense and was immediately given the starting nod his rookie season. Copeland played seven full seasons for the Bengals and put up one solid year where he sacked the quarterback 9 times and had 55 tackles. During the other six seasons Copeland only put up 15 total sacks. Overall, Copeland was never the guy the Bengals thought they would be getting with a top-5 pick in the draft.

5. Reinard Wilson (1997 – 1st Round, 14th pick, DE from Florida St.):
This All-American at Florida State compiled 13 sacks in his senior campaign. Wilson was one of those guys that could never transition over from the D-Line in college to the linebacker slot in the pros. In his second year as a pro Wilson was given a shot at the starting ROLB slot for the Bengals. In 15 games started he only put up 47 tackles, not the ideal numbers you’re looking for coming from a linebacker. He only played six seasons in the pros.


4. Dan Wilkinson (1994 – 1st Round, 1st pick, DT from Ohio St.):
Dan “BIG Daddy” Wilkinson was the Bengals first #1 overall draft pick in franchise history. The BIG man put up close to 25 sacks in two seasons for the Buckeyes and skipped his senior campaign. Usually, you expect BIG things out of the #1 draft choice, unfortunately he never lived up to the hype. Yes, he averaged 6 sacks a year during his four season with the Bengals but he was slow, never really demanded the double teams we thought teams would apply against him, and he was unhappy here. He’s now played 13 NFL seasons and has not once made the Pro Bowl or even been considered an elite DT. Although, Wilkinson would’ve fit in well with the current Bengals teams as he had legal troubles in 1996 for striking his pregnant wife.

3. Ki-Jana Carter
(1995 – 1st Round, 1st pick, RB from Penn St.):
Wait… there’s no way the Bengals could manage to have back-to-back busts with the #1 selection in the NFL draft in back-to-back years, right…… wrong. Boy was I excited about this selection as I’d seen Carter go from being an elite high-school running back at Westerville South just outside Columbus to being a star at Penn State. This Rose Bowl MVP immediately was given the reigns as the Bengals starting running back. We all remember his third pre-season game against Detroit when we saw Carter tear his ACL, after that he was never the same. Carter ending up only compiling 1,144 rushing yards in 10 NFL seasons, but hey he’s now thrown out the shoulder pads and writes for a blog, OPENSports.com.

2. David Klingler (1992 – 1st Round, 6th pick, QB from Houston):
This was a close call as both quarterbacks were equally as bad in the pros. However, Klingler had a solid college career and broke records, including throwing for 11 touchdowns in a single game and overall deserved to be a top pick with the numbers he put up in college. In 24 starts with the Bengals Klingler put up an abysmal 4-20 record and threw for only 16 touchdowns compared to 22 interceptions.

1. Akili Smith (1999 – 1st Round, 3rd pick, QB from Oregon):
Congratulations Akili Smith, you’ve earned the honors of the NKYsportsworld.com biggest draft bust. The Bengals picked Smith after one solid season at Oregon where he put up 32 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. In four seasons and 17 starts with the Bengals, Smith had a 3-14 record. During this time he only completed 46% of his passes, threw for five touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Smith was out of the NFL by the age of 27. He Akili, you should’ve stuck with baseball.

*Other such as Charles Fisher, David Pollack, and Kenny Irons could’ve made the list; however, these guys played a year or less in the NFL due to injuries.

*Notice they’re five offensive and five defensive busts on my list. QB’s, RB’s, and DE’s accounted for two each. Interesting that I didn’t have one OL or WR on the list.

*Interesting note: A 2008 comparison between the Bengals' scouting department and five AFC teams with a winning percentage above .500 since 1991 shows the winning teams employ five or more scouts whereas the Bengals employ only one.

Recruit Xavier Henry Chooses Kansas

As I speculated in a previous post, reports have been confirmed that star SG recruit Xavier Henry and his brother CJ Henry will attend the Kansas to play for Bill Self. Wildcat fans were optimistic that Henry would choose Kentucky to follow Coach Calipari. They still have top 50 recruit Jon Hood at SG for next season.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Big East vs. SEC Challenge Matchup

The official release should come at some point today but media outlets are reporting that Kentucky will play UCONN on December 9th at Madison Square Garden as part of the SEC-Big East Challenge. This will be a big time match-up for the 'Cats and will test Calipari and Kentucky early in the season. Kentucky will more than likely be a young team against a UCONN squad that has had a lot of success. Kentucky should have a strong non-conference schedule next year with Louisville, North Carolina still on the schedule. Calipari has also indicated that he will not play a weak schedule and will look to challenge his team so don't be surprised to see a lot of big programs on the schedule for the 'Cats. As this season showed the NCAA selection committee looks favorably on tough schedules.

Cyclones Win Series in 2OT

This has been one of the craziest series in ECHL playoffs. Going game seven of the seven game series the road team had won every contest thus far, which has never happened in six games of an ECHL playoff series. The defending Kelly Cup Cyclones jumped up early on Wheeling with a Felix Petit goal with 10:15 left in the first period. The game was very physical throughout and both teams played excellent defense. Wheeling was able to tie the game up with a goal off of a Cyclones turnover with 16:38 left in the second period. From there both teams locked down Wheeling only managed 6 shots on goal in the third period and the Clones only had 13. Both teams survived through the first overtime period then finally, only three minutes into the second overtime Matt Syroczynski hit a goal to beat the Wheeling Nailers 2-1. The Cylones advance to the North Division Finals and will take on the winner of tonights Game 7 match between the Elmira Jackyls and the Trenton Devils. Game one will be played at US Bank Arena Friday night.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why Protecting Carson is Key to Bengals Draft

Willie Anderson, Eric Steinbach, Rich Braham, Bobbie Williams, and Levi Jones. This was the O-Line that led the Cincinnati Bengals to there last playoff appearance. In 2005 the Bengals had one of the best O-Lines in the NFL and now…. well no words can explain how the tides have turned. The Bengals franchise player has been getting pressured more than ever and the only way you’ll have a healthy Carson Palmer for an entire season is to surround him with big, high-caliber bodies on the line.

The Bengals have picked the following offensive lineman in the first two rounds of there draft since 1996:

1996: Willie Anderson (10)
2002: Levi Jones (10)
2003: Eric Steinbach (33)
2006: Andrew Whitworth (55)

Three of these four guys have played in the Pro Bowl and the other will someday get there. Looking at all the busts the Bengals have had in the past this position seems to be the most solid and overall the safest. This is how the Bengals O-Line would look if they use there first two picks on the line:

LT: Levi Jones, Anthony Collins
LG: Andrew Whitworth
C: Alex Mack/Eric Wood/Max Unger
RG: Bobbie Williams
RT: Eugene Monroe/Andre Smith, Anthony Collins

Yes, this looks much better. The Bengals do have more holes to fill but the team needs to learn from past experiences and not draft a RB or WR in the first two rounds. Yes, the defense does need to get better and we could use another linebacker but fill this need with one of your 3rd round picks. Hopefully the Bengals are smart and learn in order to win football games you need to protect your franchise player and you need to open up holes for your running back.

LexCath PG Vee Sanford heading to Georgetown Hoyas

The 6'3" 175lb. point guard Vee Sanford out of Lexington Catholic High School has selected Georgetown Hoyas as his college of choice. Sanford, who is ranked 1 star by Scout.com, was being recruited by Billy Gillispie and the University of Kentucky. The list of schools who were battling for Sanfords service included Charlotte, Georgetown, Kansas State, Kentucky, Marquette, Miami (Oh), Nebraska, St. Louis, Toledo, Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth. Don't expect Sanford to come in and make an immediate impact for the Hoyas, but he is an extremely gifted athlete who can potentially with some growth be a nice role player for John Thompson III.

Mock Draft for the Ages

I talk a lot of smack about ESPN, but I like their page 2 stories. They are usually a little off the wall. They have posted a mock draft for all time. They only used players that were picked 1-5, and they were picked based on team need and college credentials. I am only posting this because I loved the Bengals selection....the one and only Tony Mandarich. The Bengals described him as the "can't miss prospect" whom they are depending on protecting Carson Palmer. Ahh, its so true. You know thats who we would take. Read the whole article here.


Xavier Henry Recruiting News


Rivals.com is reporting that Xavier and CJ Henry will declare their college choices within the next two days. The 6'6" shooting guard Xavier Henry is the #8 ranked player in Rivals top 150. Kentucky has been buzzing about this kid ever since the ink dried when Coach Calipari signed his contract. If you read all of the pro-Kentucky fan sites they are still speculating that Henry will come to Kentucky. However, the Henry family has not visited the campus and will not if they make their decision within the next two days. I would find it hard to believe that they would choose a school without even stepping foot on the campus. Stay tuned it is definately down between Kansas and Kentucky. My money would say he is heading to Kansas where his father was an athlete for the Jayhawks.

This week in Reds Baseball- April 20th


- The Reds will wrap up their four game series with Houston tonight, if the Reds can get the victory they will win their second straight road series of the season after going 2-1 against the Brewers and currently sitting 2-1 against Houston.

- The Reds have four games against Division opponents this week. If they can do well against Chicago this week they should move themselves toward the top of the Division.

- The Reds are currently winning the series against Houston despite not scoring a single run against Houston starting pitching. Offense has been the major issue this far with this club. Check out the starting lineup and how they are hitting.

C- Ramon Hernandez .188
1B- Joey Votto .349
2B- Brandon Phillips .176
SS- Alex Gonzalez .069
3B- Edwin Encarnacion .156
RF- Jay Bruce .176
CF- Willy Taveras .267
LF- Chris Dickerson .217

- One of the bright spots thus far has been the Reds bullpen. Arthur Rhodes and David Weathers have still yet to give up a run this season. Nick Massett and Francisco Cordero have also been very solid both at a 1.80 ERA this inning. Cordero is 4-4 on save opportunities. Jered Burton and Mike Lincoln have been terrible out of the bullpen so far but will hopefully turn it around.

-Micah Owings hasn't dazzled much yet on the mound but he has done it with the bat. The kid can hit, not like Ken Griffey Jr. hit, but an honest respectable bat in the lineup. His double put the Reds ahead on Sunday against Houston and Owings is leading the team in batting average with .400 (but he has only had 5 AB)

NL Central Standings

1. Cubs 7-4
2. Cardinals 8-5 (-)
3. Reds 6-5 (1 GB)
4. Pirates 6-6 (1.5 GB)
5. Astros 4-8 (3.5 GB)
6. Brewers 4-8 (3.5 GB)

Monday Apr. 20 8:05PM at Houston
Tuesday Apr. 21 8:05PM at Chicago
Wednesday Apr. 22 8:05PM at Chicago
Thursday Apr. 23 2:20PM at Chicago
Friday Apr. 24 7:10PM Braves
Saturday Apr. 25 1:10PM Braves
Sunday Apr. 26 1:10PM Braves

Reds Statistical Leaders
AVG-.349 Votto
HOME RUNS-2 Votto
RBI-10 Votto
STEALS-3 Taveras
ERA-2.70 Harang
WINS-2 Volquez
STRIKEOUTS-17 Harang
SAVES-4 Cordero

Cincinnati Bengals Draft History

With the NFL Draft upcoming this weekend, (Be sure to see the NKYSportsWorld Mock Draft) We have been spending a lot of time debating where the Bengals should go with their #6 pick in the draft. I wanted to take a look back at how the Bengals have fared with their top three draft picks. If you look at the production of just the Top 3 picks in the draft they have really struggled finding talent in the early rounds. So I caution Bengals fans not to get too hung up on fixing all of the issues with this draft as it may not happen.

2008
1- Keith Rivers Linebacker
2- Jerome Simpson Wide Receiver
3- Pat Sims Defensive Tackle

2007
1- Leon Hall Cornerback
2- Kenny Irons Running Back
4- Marvin White

2006
1- Johnathan Joseph Cornerback
2- Andrew Whitworth Offensive Tackle
3- Frostee Rucker Defensive End

2005
1- David Pollack Defensive End
2- Odell Thurman Linebacker
3- Chris Henry Wide Receiver

2004
1- Chris Perry Running Back
2- Keiwan Ratliff Cornerback
2- Madieu Williams Safety

2003
1- Carson Palmer Quarterback*
2- Eric Steinbach Guard
3- Kelley Washington Wide Receiver

2002
1- Levi Jones Offensive Tackle
2- Lamont Thompson Free Safety
3- Matt Schobel Tight End

2001
1- Justin Smith Defensive End
2- Chad Johnson Wide Receiver*
3- Sean Brewer Tight End

2000
1- Peter Warrick Wide Receiver
2- Mark Roman Defensive back
3- Ron Dugans Wide Receiver

*- Denotes Pro Bowler

Sunday, April 19, 2009

2009 NFL Mock Draft

Welcome to the 1st annual http://www.nkysportsworld.com/ NFL Mock Draft.
With the 2009 NFL Draft now less than a week away, it is time to make some predictions.

Round 1

1. Detriot Lions- Matt Stafford, QB GeorgiaAn NFL football team can only go as far as their defense and their quarterback. In order to actually win a game this year, Detroit needs a QB and Stafford is the best of the bunch.

2. St. Louis Rams- Jason Smith, OT Baylor
The St. Louis Rams have a ton of needs and could go a couple different directions with this pick. I would not be surprised if Aaron Curry went off the board at this spot instead of Smith. However, with the recent loss of Orlando Pace and the need for the Rams to reestablish Stephen Jackson in the run game I look for Smith to be the pick.

3. Kansas City Chiefs- Aaron Curry, LB Wake ForestAn OT would have probably been appropriate for the Chiefs at this spot as well, however, Curry seems to be the safest pick in the entire draft. With Derrick Johnson already pencilled in at MLB, Curry can be eased into the starting role by playing on the outside, a position that probably better suits him in the NFL anyway.

4. Seattle Seahawks- Michael Crabtree, WR Texas Tech
Crabtree and his foot will go a long way at determining his draft status. He played in a pass happy system at Texas Tech that may actually hurt him in his draft status. However, his college numbers don't lie and he could prove to create a solid tandem with new Seahawk TJ Houshmanzadeh.

5. Cleveland Browns- Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB TexasOrakpo is a perfect tweener type player that would fit the 3-4 system of the Browns very well. He could line up in the lineback position in pass coverage while also having the ability to get down on the line and rush the quarterback from the edge.

6. Cincinnati Bengals- Eugene Monroe, OT Virginia
The Cincinnati Bengals would be salivating if Monroe is still available when they pick at #6. Monroe is a beast of an OT and may just be the best OT in the draft. With an inability to run the football last year, an unsteady offensive line, and a battered franchise QB in Carson Palmer

7. Oakland Raiders- Jeremy Maclin, WR MizzouThe Oakland Raider defense has been pretty strong the past few seasons. It is the Raider offense that continually leads to their year in year out losing records and top 10 draft picks. Maclin is a safe pick at WR and gives Oakland not only a deep threat for strong armed QB Jamarcus Russell but also a solid kick returner as well.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars- Mark Sanchez, QB USCThis pick is starting to become a no-brainer for the Jags. If Matt Stafford happens to fall off the number 1 pick, look for the Jaguars to possibly move up to take him. Instead, they opt for the second best QB in the draft.

9. Green Bay Packers- BJ Raji, DT Boston CollegeRaji's draft stock may have fallen a bit after the recent publications regarding his positive drug test at the NFL Combine. However, he is still the best DT in the draft and DT is a position the Packers could truly upgrade.

10. San Francisco 49ers- Andre Smith, OT AlabamaFrom one player sliding down the draft board to another. Andre Smith is a mammouth of an offensive tackle and was once considered the top overall pick in the draft. Smith's recent strange behavior has made some NFL execs uneasy about selecting him, however, his destruction on the field cannot be overlooked. Andre Smith is the most interesting pick in the draft because he could become an all-pro or a major NFL bust.

11. Buffalo Bills- Brian Cushing, OLB USCCushing is the 1st of a series of USC defensive players that will be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Though he is probably not the best of the bunch, he fills a huge need for the Bills.

12. Denver Broncos-Everett Brown, DE Florida St.The Broncos will have several high profile draft picks in this years draft after the recent trade of Jay Cutler. If Sanchez happens to drop to this spot, the Broncos would have to give him a hard look. Instead, Brown has shot up the draft charts in the past few months as a player that can play both end and outside linebacker.

13. Washington Redskins- Michael Oher, OT MississippiOher becomes the 4th OT selected in the first 13 picks. A massive OT, Oher can play both the right and left side. He has the potential to go in the top 10, but could also slide to the back of the first round. Oher isnt the elite OT that many project but he could be a very strong blocking presence for a bad offensive line in Washington.

14. New Orleans Saints- Michael Jenkins, CB Ohio St.Jenkins is the next in line on a long list of recent first round defensive backs from Ohio State. The New Orleans pass coverage is average at best, even after spending mass amounts of money and premium draft picks on the position in recent years. Jenkins has the possibility of playing corner or safety in NO so he is definitely the safe pick here.

15. Houston Texans- Tyson Jackson, DE LSUThe Texans continue to improve and lately the improvements have come through the defense. Jackson has huge upside to go along with a great combination of size and speed. He would be a definite compliment to Mario Williams rushing the quarterback.

16. San Diego Chargers- Darrius Hayward-Bey, WR MarylandHayward-Bey has the potential to be a pure #1 WR. He is still a bit raw as a WR but he will have a strong supporting cast to carry the load in the SD offense until he get grows into this role. Scouts love his blistering speed and deep threat opportunities which is why he is shooting up the draft boards.

17. New York Jets- Percy Harvin, WR FloridaIt is possible that the Jets would reach for a QB in Kansas St. Josh Freeman here. However, I think the best and most sure bet is the pick WR in this spot. Harvin gives the Jets an option to replace Laverneous Coles as well as an athletic player that could return kicks or be used in all different types of formations.

18. Denver Broncos (from CHI)- Rey Maualuga, MLB USCWith their 2nd pick in the first round, the Broncos select another player in order to shore up their shaky defense. After selecting an edge rusher in Brown with the first pick, the Broncos turn to linebacker and Maualuga with their second. Maualuga is a player with a mean streak that will intimidate wide receivers as they come across the middle.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Peria Jerry, DT MississippiThe Buccaneers could go for a CB in this spot, but DT is probably the team's most pressing need. Jerry is a bit of an unknown and has shot up draft boards lately.

20. Detroit Lions (from DAL)- Eben Britton, OT ArizonaThe Lions addressed their primary need with a QB at #1 overall. Now they look to the best tackle available in order to help protect him.

21. Philadelphia Eagles- Vontae Davis, CB Illinois
Davis has the physical tools and athleticism to be a shut down corner in the NFL. Funny how we said that about his brother and SF TE Vernon Davis as well. Based on pure skills alone, Davis is probably a top 10 player in the draft, however, his character will likely cause him to slip a bit on draft day. The Eagles are in need of a CB so Davis is their guy.

22. Minnesota Vikings-Evander Hood, DT MissouriThe Vikins had probably hoped to find an OT or WR at this position, however, those spots are hard to come by at this point in the draft. The Vikings have settled for the best player available at this point and that is Hood. Nonetheless, Hood still fills a need for the Vikings defense.

23. New England Patriots-Aaron Maybin, OLB Penn StateMaybin offers a great deal of quickness, athleticism, and upside. In addition, the Patriots love players who are able to rush the passer as a DE and drop back in coverage as a LB. Maybin is a player that does just that and will fit perfectly in the defensive sceme of NE.

24. Atlanta Falcons- Clay Matthews, OLB USCThe 3rd and final player from the USC defense in the first round. Matthews went from walk on and special team ace at USC to sure fire first round draft pick. A hard nosed, high motor player in a football family, Matthews will try to light a fire on the defense in Atlanta.
25. Miami Dolphins-Darius Butler, CB Conneticut

26. Baltimore Ravens- Connor Barwin, OLB/DE Cincinnati
Barwin may just be the surprise pick of rd 1 so I am going out on a limb here. After playing only one year at DE, Barwin displayed edge rush ability as well as speed that could land him in this spot. He fits perfectly in a 3-4 defense like the Ravens. In addition, the Ravens selected a Cincinnati player in Haruki Nakamura last season and have not been disappointed.

27. Indianapolis Colts- Hakeem Nicks, WR North CarolinaSuddently, the Indianapolis Colts are looking like an aging team with a ton of holes to fill. The Colts had hoped that players such as Maybin, Hood, and Jerry would be available here to fill glaring needs on the defensive line but that just doesnt seem to be the case. With the lose of Marvin Harrison, WR is also a position of need. Nicks is a solid possession receiver in the same mold of Harrison.

28. Buffalo Bills (from CAR via PHI)- Brandon Pettigrew, TE Oklahoma St.The Bills selected defensive with a pick earlier in the round so they may elect to go offense on this one. After the recent lose of Jason Peters, OT would be a reasonable selection here as well but all of the first round tackle talent is gone by this point. Pettigrew is far and away the best TE in the draft this year and the Bills are in major need. If they dont get him here, they wont get him in round 2.

29. NY Giants- Larry English, OLB Northern Illinois
Larry English is the unknown riser of the draft. Dont know a whole lot about him so I wont tell you a whole lot except that he will be picked here. A perfect fit in the Giants 3-4 defense.

30. Tennessee Titans- Victor Harris, CB Virginia TechVictor "Macho" Harris adds to the string of CBs taken late in the first round. The class of CB are fairly weak so this may be a bit of a reach. However, the Titans need a defensive back to couple with Finnegan on next years roster.

31. Arizona Cardinals- Knowshon Moreno, RB GeorgiaArizona must be salivating that they get their pick at RB so late in the first round. Moreno becomes the 1st and only RB taken in the first round of the draft this year. The Cardinals are in desparate need of an electric RB to take the pressure off of an aging Edgerrin James and the gun happy offense of Kurt Warner. Moreno just may make the Cardinals the team to beat in the AFC again this year.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers- Max Unger, C/G OregonThe Steelers dont have many glaring needs as the reigning Super Bowl champions. However, offensive line is still an area that they can upgrade. Ben R. gets sacked more than any other QB in the NFL, so a lineman is a good pick here. Unger can play both C and G so he is a stable option especially with the lose of Faneca two years ago.

Xavier News: Kevin Parrom Re-Opens Recruiting

Top 100 recruit , Kevin Parrom, has been granted his release from his national letter of intent to play for Xavier. Parrom, a 6'6 200 pound G/F from New York City now has Arizona listed as his top choice. Chris Mack met to speak with Parrom this past week and reports say talks went well. With Miller's departure and Emanuel Richardson, whom recruited Parrom not being added to new coach Chris Mack's staff I don't see him as a Muskie in the near future. This is a huge blow to Xavier as they now lose Parrom and could also lose Derrick Brown to the draft. The muskies incoming class now includes three guards in Mark Lyons, Jordan Crawford and Brian Walsh. Walsh could be used as a combo G/F but Mack needs to start working the recruiting mill for some bigs!

Friday, April 17, 2009

2009 NFL Draft Bengals Predictions

I did this post about a month ago scouring some different websites to see who they have the Bengals selecting with their #6 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. With the signing of Tank Johnson it would be safe to say that the Bengals will more than likely not draft a DT with the #6 pick. Most sites have the Bengals going OT with their pick. Who would be available is what is being debated. Most seem to think that Andre Smith will be the guy. I would venture to say that the Bengals would be very happy to see Monroe, Oher, or Jason Smith fall to them at the #6. Here is an updated list:

Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia (Walterfootball.com, Draft King)
BJ Raji, DT, BC (NFLDraftdog)
Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi (NFLdraftsite)
Andre Smith, OT, Alabama (Shawn Zobel, FFdraftsite, ProFootball Talk, Mel Kiper)
Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas (Scout.com)
Jason Smith, OT, Baylor (CBS)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Calipari adds UK Stars to his Staff


John Calipari announced Thursday that former UK standouts Tony Delk and Scott Padgett will be added to the staff at Kentucky. Calipari did not specify exactly what roles that Delk and Padgett will play within the staff. They will not be full time assistant coaches but will participate in some capacity with the program. Calipari is known for helping aspiring coaches break into the industry. This is a great opportunity for both former Wildcats and will help rebuild the strong tradition at Kentucky.

2009 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Preview


No. 1 L.A. Lakers vs. No. 8 Utah

The Lakers and the Jazz ended the regular season playing each other with the Lakers defeating the Jazz 125-112 in the preview of this playoff matchup. The Jazz, who are led by Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Andre Kirilenko, will more than likely struggle defensively against the Lakers. LA's Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum will be a tough match up for Utah in the post. And of course LA has Kobe Bryant who can take over at any time during any game. The Lakers will be too much for Utah and should advance fairly easily.

No. 3 San Antonio vs. No. 6 Dallas

Dallas is a team who needs to capitalize on their talent levels before it is too late. This team that was once the toast of the Western Conference is beginning to show its age. Led by Dirk Nowitzki's 25.9 points per game and with Jason Kidd running the point Dallas' playoff experience could come into play in this series. Unfortunately they are facing a just as experience San Antonio team that has made the most of the talented Tony Parker and continues to get serious stat sheet production from Tim Duncan. I think San Antonia will pull of the series in seven games.


No. 4 Portland vs. No. 5 Houston

Portland has been riding a very productive season out of newly emerged superstar Brandon Roy. Roy, who is averaging 22.6 points per game, came out of nowhere in my opinion to be one of the best players in the Western Conference. This series will be the series of the unknown teams. With Portland relying on players like Aldridge, Pryzbilla, Outlaw and Blake and Houston putting stock into Scola, Altson, and role players like Chuck Hayes. With Yao Ming finally in the playoff roster Houston will need big games from both Yao Ming and star Shane Battier. They have also found production in defensive specialist Ron Artest. Looks for Houston to advance in this series.

No. 2 Denver vs. No. 7 New Orleans

What a matchup of point guards in this series, Chauncey Billups vs. Chris Paul. This may be must watch NBA TV. The Hornest are essentially a two man team featuring Chris Paul and David West. Both Paul and West have elevated their games in 2009 and last years "Cinderella" after securing a #2 seed barely limped into the scene this year. Denver will be playing their own two man game with Billups and Anthony leading the attack. This may be one of the better matched series in the playoffs in the end I think you will see Chris Paul and David West take this series over and shock Denver sending them home early. New Orleans will advance.

2009 NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Preview



No. 1 Cleveland vs. No. 8 Detroit

This is a matchup of two teams who are on the opposite side of the spectrum. Detroit is that team that had a dominating run with a group of talent that gave them a Championship in 2004. With their stars aging they are going to be rebuilding their team within a few years. The Cavaliers are riding LeBron James as far as he can take them. With only a few years left on his contract it is unknown if James will stay in Cleveland but the Cavs have finally built a strong enough supporting cast that could lead Cleveland to the Championship. Home court advantage throughout will help Cleveland as they are 39-2 on their home court, Cleveland should win this series easily and move deep into the playoffs.

No. 4 Atlanta vs. No. 5 Miami

Atlanta is a team that typically flies under the NBA radar. Last year they gave Boston all that they could handle all season and took the Celtics down to the wire in the playoffs. This will be the battle of two stars Atlanta's Joe Johnson vs. Miami's Dwayne Wade. Dwayne Wade has been an absolute beast this season making a very significant argument for MVP. He is without a shadow of a doubt the MVP of the Heat. I think that in the end the better TEAM will prevail and Atlanta will match up to play Cleveland.

No. 3 Orlando vs. No. 6 Philadelphia

Philadelphia pulled of a shocking win in Cleveland on the last game of the season to avoid playing Boston in the first round and secure the 6th seed in the playoffs. Andre Igoudala has been the leader for the Sixers this season averaging 18 points per game. Orlando was able to achieve success this season despite losing their starting PG Jameer Nelson midway through the season. Orlando's star Center Dwight Howard should cause havoc on Philadelphia's front court and will take over this series. Orlando will survive and advance.

No. 2 Boston vs. No. 7 Chicago

Although their starting lineup would not indicate much of a change this is a different Boston team than the one who made a run last year. They will open this series without star Kevin Garnett who has been sidelined with injury the last 20 games of the season. The Celtics may have to shut Garnett down for the whole series against Chicago. Chicago is led by Ben Gordon, Derrick Rose, and John Salmons. How will rookie Derek Rose handle the increased pressure of the NBA playoffs? A tough loss to the Celtics. Celtics will advance.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why Chris Mack is the Right Guy for the Xavier Job

1. With a great team coming back it was vital for Xavier to bring back a coach they can relate to. Mack is familiar with the players and has built relationships will all of them. For example, Kenny Frease was contemplating transferring until he heard of the Mack signing. Mack was the main person that recruited Frease to Xavier. Yes, Derrick Brown may still test NBA waters but with Mack at X they won't have to worry about players transferring.

If Xavier decided to hire a guy like Darrin Horn then players may have transferred and X would have to re-build. Not to mention if the team started on a downward slide because lack of talent how would this help recruiting? Incoming recruit Kevin Parrom may have tried to opt out of his scholarship if Mack wasn't the coach, next week Mack is visiting him to make sure he's happy.

2. Mack is dedicated to the university. No other coach in Xavier history has went to St. X, played at Xavier as a captain for two seasons, and then went on to be head coach of the basketball team. I'm not saying that Mack is going to jump in and have instant success, but he certainly will have the tools around him to get started. People were calling for Sean Miller's head after his first season at X after they missed the NCAA tournament and looked what happened. Also, the 5-year contract means nothing to me because college coaching contracts are pointless nowadays but Mack could be the guy that sticks around for awhile, I hope.

3. The players on the current team are used to his style of play. I'm sure they'll need to learn some new plays but the offense and defense that Mack puts together on the floor is going to be close to what Miller put out there. Mack is more of a defensive minded coach but at least the players won't have to learn whole new offensive and defensive schemes.

My NBA End of Season Awards

Most Improved: Danny Granger- Indiana Pacers

This is tough one to predict but Granger, who is averaging 25.7 pts 5.0 reb 2.7 ast, has improved in many statistical categories from 07-08. Although Granger was not terrible in 07-08 by any means, he has risen to become an absolute superstar for the Pacers.

Rookie of the Year: Derrick Rose- Chicago Bulls

Another difficult choice but I think this one has to go to the position that Rose plays. OJ Mayo has better scoring numbers and has had some explosive games, but Derrick Rose stepped into the most difficult position in the NBA as a 20 year old and guided his team to the playoffs averaging 16.8 points and 6.3 assists.

Sixth Man: Lamar Odom- Los Angeles Lakers

Odom, who started 30 games for the Lakers this season, took a bench role when Andrew Bynum returned to the Lakers from injury. Odom is averaging 11.3 pts, 8.2 reb, and 2.6 ast. But most importantly about the sixth man position he provides that much needed spark off the bench. The attitude of the Lakers change when Odom steps on the floor which to me is a big part of being the sixth man.

Coach of the Year- Stan Van Gundy- Orlando Magic

Van Gundy was able to keep Orlando in the playoffs and carry at 22-11 record after losing their starting point guard Jameer Nelson. The Magic will finish the season with the fourth most wins in the league with a team full of disciplined role players. A good coach is able to keep his team focused even when faced with adversity.

Most Valuable Player- LeBron James- Cleveland Cavliers

His stat sheets are incredible 28.4 pts. 7.6 reb 7.2 assists. The Cavaliers have had a dream season, especially at home where they are 40-1. This is where the debate comes in about this award. Strong arguments can be made for other players around the league but Lebron is dominating in many aspects of the game, take LeBron off the Cavaliers and they will not even sniff the playoffs. Add LeBron and they can contend for the Championship.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cincinnati Bengals Announce 2009 Schedule

Tonight on the NFL Network, the NFL announced team-by-team schedules for the upcoming 2009 football season. It feels awesome that football season is right around the corner. In what is not shocking news, the Cincinnati Bengals play zero primetime Monday night, Sunday night, or Thursday night games this season. Looks like we are back to the Bengals of the 1990's. I guess that is what you get when you only when 4 games. Whats even better is that I still can't wait for football.

Here is the schedule:

Sun, Sep 13 Denver Broncos 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Sep 20 @ Green Bay Packers 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Sep 27 Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Oct 04 @ Cleveland Browns 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Oct 11 @ Baltimore Ravens 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Oct 18 Houston Texans 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Oct 25 Chicago Bears 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Nov 01 BYE
Sun, Nov 08 Baltimore Ravens 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Nov 15 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Nov 22 @ Oakland Raiders 4:15PM (ET)
Sun, Nov 29 Cleveland Browns 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Dec 06 Detroit Lions 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Dec 13 @ Minnesota Vikings 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Dec 20 @ San Diego Chargers 4:05PM(ET)
Sun, Dec 27 Kansas City Chiefs 1:00PM (ET)
Sun, Jan 03 @ New York Jets 1:00PM (ET)

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears

1. Fox Sports - so it turns out employees at Fox Sports like to fall asleep during Reds games. Myself along with many other viewers enjoyed watching a great game between the Reds and Brewers and all of a sudden in the bottom of the 9th with one out and the Reds up a run the program switched to "The Best Damn Sport Show Period." It took them 15 minutes to realize this had happened and by this time the Reds game was over! I know mistakes happen, but this isn't the first time I've watched something this year and Fox Sports has suddenly switched programs. Earlier this year, a UC basketball game was cut-off in OT (Yes, I was watching a UC game, don't hate). I hope the next time Fox Sports CEO is watching his favorite show on TV that it switches to a different program during the last 10 minutes, jackass.

2. Andy Furman - talk about someone that has fallen off the face of the earth. This once controversial radio personality was employed by 700 WLW for decades and was let go because of comments made about the Cincinnati Bengals, in particular T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He then went to write for The Pulse which is no longer around and works for 96.5 Supertalk. I saw him as a guest on Channel 5's Sunday night Sports show and the guy reminded me why I've always despised him. Hey Andy, it's one thing to be a controversial tv/radio personality, it's another thing to be annoying as hell. When he tries to make a point he always has to yell and the whole program he was begging people to give him a second chance. Hey Andy, get a job, better yet get a life.

3. Former Reds Players Success - remember these names Ryan Dempster, Kyle Lohse and Todd Coffey. All of these players had pretty horrific Reds careers and have done tremendous elsewhere. I watched Coffey last night and he was throwing almost every pitch between 94 and 96, I don't ever remember him having that kind of velocity. What about Dempster who was 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA last year or Lohse who was 15-6 with a 3.78 ERA last year. All have started off the season well and not to mention all play for contenders in the NL Central, seriously!

Chris Mack to Xavier

Yahoo! is finally confirming NKYSportsWorld reports that date back as early as Saturday that Xavier has hired Chris Mack as their new head coach. Check it out here. If you want to read about two day old breaking news be sure to check out Yahoo Sports!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cincinnati Reds Could Host 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

1988, this was the last time the major league baseball all-star game was played in the queen city, Cincinnati. Reports have it that The Reds are pursuing an All-Star date for 2013.

What are the chances that the Reds win this bid? I say they're as good as they'll get as they have a great new ball park, plenty of hotels and a re-invigorated downtown. Also, the Banks project will be finished by this time. It also helps that they're plenty of things to do around town in the summer from Kings Island and Newport on the Levee to Horse Racing and Casinos across the river. Can you imagine the home run derby in a home run happy ballpark? Your thoughts?

The Reds said the team’s desire to host an All-Star Game is one reason it sought the Civil Rights Game against the Chicago White Sox at Great American Ball Park.

Henry Aaron, Muhammad Ali and Bill Cosby are scheduled to be in town that weekend to accept awards. President Obama has also been invited.

The game alternates between American League and National League cities every year. St. Louis is hosting this year. With Arizona getting the next National League date in 2011, Cincinnati’s next three chances are 2013, 2015 and 2017.

This week in Reds Baseball

* There are a lot of people who subscribe to the thought that there are no must win games in April. But I completely disagree, a win in April is the same as a win in August. If you don't win in April then your games don't mean anything in August. And with the Reds facing their longest road stand of the season, all of which are played against Division opponents, this 10 game stretch must be a positive road trip for the Redlegs. They open up tonight against Milwaukee, then only Houston and Chicago before returning to GABP.

* Last season the Reds were 10-8 against Milwaukee.

* The Reds will face their arch nemesis Roy Oswalt this week in Houston. Oswalt has played the Reds28 times in his career, and has a record of 23-1, with a 2.47 ERA.

Monday Apr. 13 8:05PM at Brewers- Volquez (0-1 8.31) vs. Gallardo (1-0, 2.70)
Tuesday Apr. 14 8:05PM at Brewers- Arroyo (1-0 7.50) vs. Parra (0-1 10.38)
Wednesday Apr. 15 8:05PM at Brewers- Owings (0-0 0.00) vs. Looper (0-0 1.80)
Friday Apr. 17 8:05PM at Astros- Cueto (0-1 6.00) vs. Oswalt (0-2 6.23)
Saturday Apr. 18 7:05PM at Astros- Harang vs. Rodriguez
Sunday Apr. 19 2:05PM at Astros- Volquez vs. Moehler

* Statistical leaders through April 12
Batting Avg- Joey Votto (.400)
Home Runs- Joey Votto (2)
RBI- Joey Votto (7)
OBP- Edwin Encarnacion (.524)
Wins- Bronson Arroyo (1)
ERA- Aaron Harang (0.64)
K's- Aaron Harang (11)

Sunday Drama at the Masters

Wow! What a Sunday evening at the Masters. There were a number of players in contention throughout their rounds on Sunday and many didn't even know it. When the last group tee'd off Kenny Perry was gobbling up Pars and hanging on to his -11 lead. Meanwhile you have Phil Mickelson who posted a record setting 30 on the front nine, then decides to find the lake on 12 and missed and Eagle on 15 to put him out of the running. Phil was playing with Tiger, who we were all waiting for him to turn it up but he could never seem to make it over that hump. Just when you thought he was gaining momentum Tiger missed his long eagle putt on 15 then became a shank golfer bogeying 17. Tiger enjoyed Augusta so much on the 18th hole that he wanted to make it last so he spent some time in the pine straw, then he remembered how much he loved the 10th hole at Augusta so he hit his approach off a tree back into the 10th fairway. Mickelson finished a -9, Tiger at -8 not enough to create Sunday magic.

But the choking was not done yet folks. Angel Cabrera looked like the wheels were falling off playing early with Kenny Perry, Perry was holding steady at -11 while Cabrera bogeyed 10 to go +2 on the day, but eventually battled back. Chad Campbell bogeyed 9 and 10 but then rallied on the back nine to finish -3 on the day putting some pressure on Cabrera and Perry. Heading into the last holes of the course it was Kenny Perry's tournament. Teeing off on 17 Perry had a two shot lead on Cabrera and Campbell and was taking his victory lap to the green jacket. But then the choking continued at Augusta. Perry bogeyed both 17 and 18 to set up a three way playoff.

On the tee both Perry and Campbell were sitting pretty in the fairway and Cabrera found the trees in the pine straw in what looked like was an impossible lie. But Cabrera some how managed to drive the ball off the last tree and back into the fairway then hit a clutch shot six feet from the cup. Meanwhile those pretty fairway drives from Perry and Campbell ended up looking bad. Campbell found the sand and Perry was short and right of the green. Perry then hit a remarkable chip shot that almost found the hole, and Campbell did the same. They both had five footers to send it to the second playoff. Perry hits but Campbell chokes so its Perry and Cabrerra.

Back to the 10th Perry and Cabrera both drive the same spot on the fairway but Perry cannot find the green on the approach. Cabrerra puts his second shot about 15 feet away. Perry chips a horrendous shot and has a 20 footer that he has to sink, which he doesn't. Cabrera then two puts his way to a green jacket. It was a day where we saw ups and downs of composure and unraveling. They all choked at some point in the day, but Cabrera choked less winning his first green jacket.

T-1 Angel Cabrera
T-1 Kenny Perry
T-1 Chad Campbell
4 Shingo Katayama
5 Phil Mickelson
T-6 Steve Flesch
T-6 John Merrick
T-6 Steve Stricker
T-6 Tiger Woods

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ranking Northern Kentucky’s Public Golf Courses: Who Deserves Top Honors?

The following are a list of public golf courses in Northern Kentucky. I’ve played each of these courses more than once through the years and ranked them accordingly. Things to consider when ranking each course are the conditions and overall experience.

Birdie
Lassing Pointe – One of the most challenging courses in Northern Kentucky is at the top of my rankings. Lassing Pointe is a par 71. Although it’s not one of the more inexpensive courses in the area it tops my list because the course is always in great shape, is spread out, and hole number eight is one of the best holes in the area and plays as a 521 yard par 5 from the back tees. (see photo)

Fox Run – A close second to Lassing Pointe, Fox Run is one of three courses owned by Kenton County Golf Course. Fox Run is a par 72. The course is known for some very picturesque holes, such as the 558 yard par 5 number 18 (see photo)

Par

Boone Links – this course is host to three nine hole courses: Brookview, Lakeview, and the newest of the three Ridgeview. If you’re looking for a challenging play the original nines Brookview and Lakeview which play a par 72. All three courses are well-maintained and challenging in their own ways. Ridgeview is the easiest of the three courses and plays much shorter than its counterparts.

Hickory Sticks – the biggest sleeper of all the golf courses on the list. Hickory Sticks is a par 71 located in California, Kentucky. The course opened its doors in 1998 and is challenging, well-maintained, hilly, and has some great views. If you’re looking for a challenging hole play number three, a 450+ par 5 which plays all up-hill and includes one of the smallest greens in the area.

The Willows –The name describes everything about this Kenton County Golf Course. If you like a challenging course with a ton of trees this is the course for you. The Willows is a par 72. The course is the hilliest of the three courses which leaves you with some tough hill side lies along the way.

A.J. Jolly – Another hidden gem, A.J. Jolly is a par 71 golf course in Alexandria, Kentucky. The course is challenging to all levels of play and has some of the tightest holes in the area, meaning you can’t afford to hit a bad shot off the tee on most holes. The course features many scenic views and on occasion you’ll see deer run across the fairways. If you don’t like lakes then hole number 10 will be your worst nightmare, a 350+ yard par 4 with lakes that run along the left and right side of this tight fairway.

Devou Park – opened in 1922, Devou Park is by far the hilliest course in Northern Kentucky. The course is home to some of the most scenic holes in the area and is known for hole number five, which overlooks downtown Cincinnati. The course plays as a par 70 and forces you to tee off with an iron on many of there challenging holes. The courses fairways are “beat-up” at times and the lakes aren’t well-maintained.

Bogey

Twin Oaks – built in 1927, Twin Oaks is one of the oldest courses in Northern Kentucky. The course plays as a par 70 and is one of the only courses in the area that feature Bermuda grass. If you’re going to play Twin Oaks go in the spring when the grass is bright green and before the course is beaten up throughout the summer. The greens and course could be maintained better and in the fall the Bermuda grass turns brown, which makes it look like dead grass sprayed throughout the course. In my opinion, the owners should’ve put more money into the course and not the new clubhouse.

Pioneer – built in 1968, Pioneer is the first of the three Kenton County Golf Courses. Pioneer is a par 70 and can be described as the tale of two nines as the front nine is far easier than the back in my opinion. The course is usually in good shape but the holes feel like they’re too bunched together as you may hit from the wrong fairway on many occasions throughout your round.

Flagg Springs
– another course in California, Kentucky Flagg Springs plays as a par 71. The course is very open which allows you to hit a bad tee shot and recover quite easy throughout your round. Every time I’ve played here the course has been in decent shape, but the one thing that stands out in my mind are the cable lines that run along and in some cases in play throughout your round.

Double Bogey


World of Sports – the last facility owned by Ralph Landrum, World of Sports is the only “par-3” course in the area. This par 59 golf course does include five par fours but is mainly made up of short par threes and was created for the beginning golfer. The course is usually in bad shape but Landrum is currently investing more money into his only property left. If your idea of fun is watching a guy in jean shorts hack at a ball far to many times and playing behind slow “golfers” this course is for you.

Meadowood Golf Club – the course has taken a turn for the worse after selling off their back-nine to build condominiums. This par 35 nine hole course includes below-average maintenance and the slowest play in the area. The fairways are often hard as rocks and I usually find myself wanting to skip holes in order to play in front of slow individuals on the nine-hole course! If you’re a beginner to the game of golf and don’t mind playing nine holes in the span of three hours this course is for you. By far, the worst course in Northern Kentucky.

*birdie - is the highest ranking and deems the course is highly recommended.
*par - means the course is above average but is not in the same league as the top courses.
*bogey - means the course is average.
*double bogey - means the course is below average and has some flaws.

Although I’ve played all of them country clubs aren’t eligible for the list.

Price wasn’t used as a main factor when ranking the top courses. For a complete list of rates/prices, addresses and more information of Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area golf courses, Click Here.

Your Thoughts?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Who am I?

While channel surfing today I saw this very interesting statistic comparing a current Major League baseball player with the great Mickey Mantle. The topic of discussion was Great Switch Hitters, so that is your first clue but check out the comparison of numbers:

Mickey Mantle Through First 10 seasons:
.307 Average
320 Home runs
935 RBI's
1,113 Runs

Current MLB Player
.302 Average
288 Home Runs
961 RBI's
896 Runs

Not quite complete Mickey Mantle numbers but pretty close. Who am I?

Latest Rumor: Chris Mack will be Announced as New Xavier Coach on Tuesday

An inside source with Xavier (i.e. Byron Larkin) has rumored that Chris Mack will be announced the new head coach of the Xavier Musketeers on Tuesday and will be introduced at a banquet the following evening.

In other Xavier news, Arizona men's basketball coach Sean Miller has hired James Whitford and Emanuel Richardson as assistants.

The 37-year-old Whitford was an assistant under Miller for the past four seasons at Xavier with an emphasis on defense and recruiting.

The 36-year-old Richardson just completed his second year with Miller at Xavier.

Cincinnati Cyclones Take Another Tough Loss

The Wheeling Nailers have come into US Bank arena in the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs and have opened a 2-0 lead on the Cincinnati Cyclones. After taking the first game 4-1, Wheeling got past the 'Clones on Friday night 3-1. The goalie for the Nailers, Curtis Darling, was phenomenal tonight against the Cyclones only giving up one goal and stopping 34 shots. Cyclones missed a lot of opportunities to score throughout the game including a penalty shot by Barret Ehgoetz in the first period. The Cyclones were sniffing at making a run in the third period until Bryan Ewing netted a goal 13:50 into the third. The series will now return to Wheeling for three games where Wheeling could eliminate the Cyclones from their 2009 Kelly Cup defense.

Scout.com 2009 Recruiting Rankings

Scout.com has released their 2009 recruiting class rankings and John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats have the #4 ranked recruiting class in the country. Keep in mind these are the early indicator numbers. There are still a couple of weeks left in the signing period so this could change.

1. North Carolina
2. Texas
3. Villanova
4. Kentucky
5. Georgia Tech
6. Florida
7. UCLA
8. Oklahoma
9. Duke
10. Kansas

Friday, April 10, 2009

WNBA Draft

I realized that the WNBA Draft was yesterday (can't believe that I missed it) so in order to stay up with Title IX I found this video floating around the internet. Enjoy!

NKU Signee Ethan Faulker

I have been wanting to post this for some time but with all of the Kentucky news it has been placed on the back burner. At the Sweet Sixteen tournament I was able to watch the PG for the Elliot County Lions, Ethan Faulkner, who some time ago signed with Coach Dave Bezold at Northern Kentucky University. Faulker was part of a four senior tandem, which included is twin brother Evan, that let their Elliott County team to the Semi-finals of the State tournament and a 32-3 season. During his varsity career at Elliott County Faulkner scored over 2,000 points, his senior class combined with brother Evan and Johnathan Ferguson scored over 7,000 points in their career.
Ethan is a very fundamentally sound basketball player who really looks to open the floor and enable his teammates. He very quick and explosive and attacks the basket very well for his size. He isn't tiny, 6'2" 180 with an athletic frame. If there was one knock that I could see based on my three game observation was he will definitely need to improve his defense. Overall this is a great signing for Northern Kentucky University.

If you didn't catch this story a couple of months ago Pat Forde of ESPN wrote a great story about the Elliot County Team.

Why the Bengals Should Draft Andre Smith

With the draft coming up in a couple of weeks I felt it would be a good time to hit on a few of the names that are seriously floating around the Cincinnati Bengals at pick #6. The one that has caught the most attention has been Alabama OT Andre Smith. We all saw his "jello-man" 40 yard dash from his pro day and have heard all of the terrible things that he has done in the combine. But the one thing that people are forgetting is everything that he accomplished at the University of Alabama. Smith was virtually untouchable at LT for the Crimson.
We are living in a day and age where every move a player makes is absolutely scrutinized and that has been the case with Andre Smith. He may not be the smartest player in the world, but I also don't remember Willie Anderson winning any academic bowls. Smith carries his size well and is very athletic and quick ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD. I don't care what he can run in the 40 yard dash because I hope to never have to see him run 40 yards on the football field. If he is he is probably chasing down a defender who just created a turnover. So lets forget all of the scrutiny that he has met after the season and remember that initial draft reports right after the season had Smith as the #1 pick. We have put too much value on the combine. We spend too much time evaluating 40 times, weight lifting, high jump and not enough time watching tape and evaluating talent ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD. Draft Andre Smith!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mens Hoops: Early 2009-10 preseason top 25

From Fox Sports. Obviously you should take these rankings with a grain of salt as recruiting classes have yet to shape up and players on these 25 teams may enter the draft or transfer.

1. Kansas
2. Michigan State
3. Villanova
4. Purdue
5. Duke
6. Clemson
7. Washington
8. North Carolina
9. Kentucky
10. Butler
11. Xavier
12. UCONN
13. West Virginia
14. Wake Forest
15. Minnesota
16. Louisville
17. Texas
18. Illinois
19. Ohio State
20. Tennessee
21. Gonzaga
22. Siena
23. Michigan
24. California
25. UCLA

6 teams from the Big 10 and only 4 from the Big East and ACC, this guy may be on crack......

NBA Draft: Which Underclassmen Have Declared So Far

Granted more than half of these guys will probably return to their respective schools:

(* To preserve eligibility, player has not hired an agent.)

DeJuan Blair, PF, So., Pittsburgh
Chase Budinger, G/F, Jr., Arizona
Nick Calathes, G, Florida*
Patrick Christopher, SG, Jr., Cal*
Earl Clark, F, Jr., Louisville
Dwayne Collins, PF, Jr., Miami*
Brandon Costner, PF, NC State*
DeMar DeRozan, G/F, Fr., USC
Eric Devendorf, G, Jr., Syracuse*
Devan Downey, G, Jr., South Carolina*
Tyreke Evans, G, Fr., Memphis
Roderick Flemings, SG, Jr., Hawaii*
Jonny Flynn, PG, So., Syracuse
Blake Griffin, PF, So., Oklahoma
Daniel Hackett, PG, Jr., USC
James Harden, SG, So., Arizona State
Paul Harris, G/F, Jr., Syracuse*
Jordan Hill, PF, Jr., Arizona
Jrue Holiday, G, Fr., UCLA*
Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy
James Johnson, F, So., Wake Forest
Mac Koshwal, C, So., DePaul*
Jodie Meeks, SG, Jr., Kentucky*
Tasmin Mitchell, F, Jr., LSU*
B.J. Mullens, C, Fr., Ohio State
DaJuan Summers, F, Georgetown
Jeff Teague, G, So., Wake Forest*
Greivis Vasquez, G, Jr., Maryland*

Of the players that have hired agents do you see any that may surprise you? (i.e. coming out to early)

Snap Judgements on the Reds

Well we have had one series in the books of this 2009 season and it is WAY to early to make too many judgements on this team but lets at least point out a few tid bits.

* Lets not forget that the Mets are predicted to be one of the top teams in the NL. There were a lot of Reds fans who were quick to pass judgement on our offense after opening day but let us not forget we had the pleasure of facing Johan Santana that day, not an easy task. Since that outing the Reds have hit the ball well, so no need to panic yet.

* Jay Bruce looks like he is pressing a little right now. I think once he gets in stride he will be fine. Not All Star type numbers but he should be very productive.

* Joey Votto will more than likely be our All Star this year. His stroke is effortless and he absolutely smashes the ball. He can hit with as much power as Dunn and has way more intangibles than Dunn could ever dream of. Not ready to put Votto in the Hall of Fame yet like some Reds fans, but could easily see him pushing 40 Home Runs and 100 RBI's this season all while offering solid defense at first.

* Out of Harang, Volquez, and Arroyo Aaron Harang has given us the best outing thus far. Harang was the pitcher who a lot of Reds fans worry about. Volquez will need to work on lowering that pitch count, once again he threw a lot of pitches early in the game. Arroyo was just Arroyo, he is not a true #3 pitcher more like #5. He got the only W so far so hard to complain too much.

* Outside of a rough outing from Herrara and Lincoln the bullpen has been absolutely lights out. Cordero came out today and got three K's to get the save. Arthur Rhodes has pitched phenomenal thus far. The bullpen is stacked and will help us win some ball games this year.

* Left side of the infield has been less than impressive so far. Edwin is starting the season 1-7, we will need a lot more offense out of him to justify having him on the field cause he ain't winning any Gold Gloves anytime soon. Gonzalez is 0-6 starting the season, he is not expected to hit the ball but is also expected to do it with the glove and had a critical error on Wednesday night. Hopefully they can both get something going.

John Wall Narrows List

Rivals.com #1 ranked recruit John Wall has narrowed his list to seven schools. N.C. State, Duke, Memphis, Baylor, Kansas, Miami and Kentucky are all in the running for the PG to join their team next year. Coach Calipari is out of the recruiting trail this week and I would imagine he will be paying a visit to Mr. Wall. Although Wall will more than likely start wherever he goes Kentucky is in desperate need of PG.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Holmes Bulldogs Basketball Recruits

Below are the ESPN.com scouting reports for four of Holmes High School players on the recruiting trail.

Ricardo Johnson, 6'4 JR. SG:

January, 2009: Johnson is a long armed wing with a great basketball body. He likes to attack the rim and shoot the pull up going to his left. He hangs in the air and draws fouls near the rim and can finish through contact. He can also slash between defenders. He is an excellent defensive rebounder that is a threat to take it coast to coast. Johnson is a good ball handler that can find the open man and remains calm when trapped. Johnson needs to extend his shooting range and improve his open court ball handling when being pressured. Great upside

March, 2009: This athletic wing attacks the rim in transition and in the half court. He is an excellent athlete that can score through contact. Johnson can finish above the rim with a clear path and constantly makes athletic plays on both ends of the floor. When in rhythm he can knock down the spot up three with time and space.

Scouts Grade: 85
Considering: Bradley, Xavier, Indiana


Jeremiah Johnson 6'4 JR. SG:

January, 2009: This athletic wing is strong and excels in transition and in the half court by attacking the rim. Johnson can knock down the open three when his feet are set. He is also an excellent rebounder that can gain possession of the ball in and out of his area as he sprints in from the perimeter. Johnson competes and flat out attacks defenders off the dribble. He can score through contact on a regular basis. Johnson is a good on ball defender and is capable of defending all three perimeter positions. He must continue to improve his ball handling and extend his shooting range to take game to next level. Johnson is a physical presence on the perimeter with good upside.

March, 2009: Johnson is a very aggressive high energy wing that can hit the open three off the catch with time and space. He is a terrific defensive rebounder for his size and is a good enough ball handler to immediately start the fast break. Johnson is another excellent Holmes athlete that is an above the rim finisher with a clear path. Johnson also excels in transition as he sprints the floor for easy baskets.

Scouts Grade: 82
Schools Considering: None listed

Elijah Pittman 6'7 JR SF

March, 2009: Pittman is a long athlete that has a body built for hoops. He is thin and must add strength but is athletic and has great length. Pittman can finish above the rim in traffic in transition as well as in the half court when motivated. He sprints the floor in transition and loves to spot up for three in the corner where he can make the defense pay with time and space. On the glass Pittman is an asset as well. He has the ability to rebound in and out of his area on both ends. He must improve his scoring moves off the dribble if he wants to be a small forward at the next level but he has excellent upside.

January, 2009: Pittman is a long athlete that runs the floor very well. He prefers to play on the perimeter where he spots up on the three point line. Pittman can knock down the open three with time and space. His jumper is more of a set shot with a low release but his follow through is excellent. He can also put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket. Pittman likes to attack along the baseline and from the high post area. He can score on floaters in between defenders with great touch and concentration on the rim. He is a terrific shot blocker on or away from the ball and has excellent timing. Pittman is skilled and as he adds strength most of the negative parts of his game will improve. He is an excellent looking prospect with great upside.

Scouts Grade: 87
Schools Considering: Kentucky

Kevon Rice 6'6 Soph. G/F


January, 2009: Rice has good size and is a good athlete. He is very aggressive and looks to make scoring plays from the wing and by running the floor in transition. This lefty is an excellent slasher especially with his strong hand. He can spilt defenders and elevate over taller opponents in the lane. He does a great job of drawing fouls as well. He is very confident and plays with swagger. Rice does a good job of hitting the offensive glass. He keeps the ball alive with his long arms and is good for a least one tip in. Rice needs to add strength and work on his right hand in addition to extending his shooting range but has terrific upside.

March 20009: Rice is a young wing that is silky smooth. This lefty is skilled with an excellent mid range pull up jumper. He is tough to stop going to his left because he can elevate and shoot over smaller defenders. Rice also does a great job at reading penetration and spotting up behind the arc where he can knock down the open three and stretch the defense to its breaking point. He is also a good passer with excellent touch on his passes where he gets teammates the ball while they are in scoring position. Rice needs to get stronger and continue to work on his ball handling and develop scoring moves going to his right but he plays with great confidence and a scorers mentality and has off the charts upside.

Scouts Grade: 88
Schools Considering: None at this time