Why? Why Derrick Rose? Why did you have to get hurt last year? Why did you have to get cleared in March by doctors? Why did we have to know you got cleared? Why did your brother have to tweet about it wasn't worth it for you to come back after the trade deadline? Why did your brother have to say you were about 90% percent mentally recovered? Why Derrick Rose did you make me so upset? Why when I hate the Bulls was I rooting for them to beat the Heat? Why Derrick Rose am I hoping they win the series to prove to you they can do it without you? Why do you bother me so much? Why?
Normally these blogs are sports related but I’ve decided to use it for another purpose and that’s to promote a very worthy effort in CPS3. It’s the third Cancer Prevention Study that the American Cancer Society has put together, the first linked smoking to cancer, the second linked it to obesity, and who knows what the third one will find out. I’m asking you to take about 45 minutes out of your busy day between now and May 10th and go to one of the designated locations in your area and volunteer to be a part of the CPS3. During the time you are there you will fill out a questionnaire and donate a small sample of blood. The only thing required is that you are between the ages of 30 and 65. Men are really needed at this time as the turnout to this point as been mostly women. I will be participating in the survey and hopefully you will be too. To find out the location in your area simply go to www.CPS3SEwisconsin.org
Cancer has really affected my family as I’ve lost a cousin in her mid twenties, a couple of friends in their mid thirties, and my father has also suffered from different forms of cancer throughout his life. I’m asking you to participate in CPS3, so one day we can find a cure to this deadly disease that has taken so many innocent lives. Thanks.
I’ve tried to let this topic go since last week’s Robert Haack Diamonds Post Game Show, but I simply can’t! I received an e-mail during the show talking about the problems a listener had getting a bar to turn the Bucks game on. After reading that email, I received a call from another listener in Cedarburg claiming to be a bar/restaurant owner and he pretty much stated that the Bucks aren’t that good and he doesn’t go out of his way to have the game on but would turn it on if somebody asked for it. That call was followed by Saz, the owner of Saz’s, who couldn’t believe what he heard that owner say, and stressed how important it is to have local establishments supporting the local teams in town.
After having thought about this for a few days, I am more adamant than ever that as a fan, if a local establishment doesn’t care enough to support the local sports teams, then I see no reason why I should support them. You are free to agree or disagree with me on this, but I’ve heard local owners of bars and restaurants complain about “chain” places taking business away from them and they couldn’t understand how people would go there over their business. If that’s the sentiment of most local owners, then you will surely understand my stance as a sports fan to not support any business that doesn’t support the local teams.
Are you a Brewers fan? If you are and you’ve never been to spring training before, let me tell you to add it your bucket list. I know in the middle of the winter in Wisconsin, you probably can’t wait for baseball to start at Miller Park. There isn’t much better then showing up at Maryvale Baseball Park in Arizona to smell the different things cooking in the concession stands. Then it’s the crack of the bat coming from the field as you’re walking up to the gate, under the beautiful sunny skies in Arizona.
If you have kids who are baseball fans, they also can take advantage in the mornings at the minor league complex right across from a parking lot from the major league complex where all the players go to do their morning drills. You can sit right behind the backstop screen and watch each group of players do their drills while they are on the field you are sitting at. Then when the morning stuff is done, they head across the parking lot back to the major league clubhouse, but along the way they will sign autographs for the kids.
The other great part of Cactus League action is the fact that everything is so close together, with most team’s ballparks being within 30 minutes or so of another one. Looking for things to do? I like The Tempe Marketplace, which brings great shopping and different places to eat. If you’re a college student, hanging out on Mill Road in Tempe is the place to be. I’m a big fan of going to Scottsdale, but to be honest, it’s a little too rich for my blood, but if you are well off you can certainly have a good time.
So once you've crossed off Brewers Spring Training from your bucket list, let me know what you think!
The NFL Combine experience has really changed over the course of the years. My first time coming here about four years ago at the RCA Dome, I was able to broadcast Sparky’s Midday Madness in a hallway along with another radio station from Texas. Back then coaches, players, scouts, and general managers would leave the field through one door that led down a hallway to a bunch of fans waiting for them to get autographs and pictures. I remember Bears HC Lovie Smith showing up that year after having been to the Super Bowl against the Colts and you would’ve thought Michael Jackson was in the building the way he was swarmed by fans and media. That same week I was joined by many people that would sit down and do the show including Packers GM Ted Thompson who sat down for 30 minutes with me.
Fast forward to these last couple of years, where over 800 media credentials were handed out and there is now a radio row at Lucas Oil Field featuring local, national, and satellite stations. The league blocks off areas where NFL personnel can go without bother from fans or media members. It’s become a league event more than an event that even the average fan can enjoy. Like many sports leagues now a day, the fan is left behind.
While everybody realizes that I’m an NBA guy, the best experience for a fan wanting to get close to their favorite coach, general manager or upcoming star in the league is the NBA Summer League. Two gyms connected by a concourse filled with concession stands and people mulling about between fans and NBA personnel. You sit in the stands for the games and you might find yourself sitting next to Denver HC George Karl or Spurs HC Gregg Popovich. Last year Karl sat in the stands and signed autographs while watching the games being played. If you want to meet one of the new draft picks, you will have that chance as well, as many of the players will sit in the stands while not playing for their team.
So while the NBA might not have the popularity of the NFL, they definitely have the best off-season fan experience. Oh did I mention that the Summer League is in Las Vegas in July NOT Indy in February? See you in Vegas!
As many people that listen to the Wendy’s Big Show know, I am a person that tends to hold grudges and not let things go all that easily. If you know me or listen to the Wendy’s Big Show fairly regularly, you also realize my dislike for Indiana head coach Tom Crean. I will say that the first day I met him while working at WISN radio, I thought he could do great things. I remember telling the host that I produced for at the time that Tom Crean was clearly the right man for the Marquette job at that point. He was similar to Bruce Pearl in that both of them had that “used car sales guy” side of them. If you can recruit, you don’t have to be a great X’s and O’s guy. You can have those assistants with you on your staff to help you along with that.
I remember the stories I would hear about Dwyane Wade when he was a freshman and just how jaw-droppingly good he was in practice every day. I’ll admit that I wasn’t really buying into what I was hearing. However, when I watched him play in the Great Alaskan Shootout during his second season (first with eligibility) I couldn’t believe my eyes. Now again, I didn’t think he would turn into an NBA superstar, but I knew he was going to be a damn good college player and the sky was the limit for Marquette. A Final Four appearance later, Dwyane Wade was headed to the NBA, and things had changed forever for Tom Crean.
With the Final Four appearance comes the pressure of keeping the team at a high level and not letting the program slip back to mediocrity. With the Final Four appearance came other schools calling wanting him to leave and go coach for them. With the Final Four appearance came the challenge of not letting his success change him.
People thought that Crean could just go find another Wade, however, even at that point fans still didn’t realize how good they had it. I think Tom Crean knew that finding another Dwyane Wade while at MU was going to be like finding a needle in a haystack, so when Indiana came calling he left for his “dream job”.
The challenge at Indiana was probably a greater challenge than what he undertook at MU when he first arrived, considering all the sanctions that IU had placed on them because of the transgressions of former head coach Kelvin Sampson. Crean hasn’t looked back since taking over and has turned Indiana back into a powerhouse program in relatively short order.
Did the Final Four change him as a person? I think you could ask a bunch of different people in Wisconsin and get a bunch of different answers. However, if you ask Dwyane Wade, Tom Crean may have changed the course of basketball history http://tinyurl.com/aj665xt
After having read that great piece by Chris Tomasson, while I may not let go of my grudge with Tom Crean, I couldn’t be happier to see the relationship he has kept with Dwyane Wade. Let’s face it, both are at much different points in their life, but for Crean to reach out like that at that moment is truly heart-warming.
I decided this weekend to go see some good high school basketball, as I normally don’t have a chance to, with the Bucks schedule the way it is. The game I chose to go to was packed, so I was forced to stand in a corner of the gym packed in with others, with everybody trying to see the game action. It was a great atmosphere to see a game to say the very least.
Then during the first half of the game, a fan standing in front of me said to his buddy something along the lines of “They need to quit giving the ball to that Gomer Pyle”. To which there was no reaction from anybody around him until a school staffer turned around and told him he couldn’t be calling students “Gomer Pyle”. I thought the staffer had to be joking, but apparently not, as the fan questioned what was wrong with using the term and acknowledging that he was talking to his friend not yelling it out to the player on the court. The school staffer then asked for security to escort him out of the building, the fan as you could well imagine then really became upset as did the people around us. I couldn’t believe it happened and decided to write this blog.
I’m not the most politically correct person in the world, but at what point do fans get tossed out of games for talking to other fans? Is “Gomer Pyle” some super offensive term that I’m uneducated about? If it means a player that’s not very good, then that fan used the term correctly. If it means something else, please let me know.
You may or may not be aware that the PBA announced a while back that they will be returning to Southeastern Wisconsin for their Summer Series. Now if you haven’t heard, then you haven’t listened to the Spare/Time Bowling Show on Sunday mornings at 9am or you missed the one day it was in the Journal Sentinel newspaper. Let’s be honest if this is going to be a successful event coming up in May and June then more will need to be done.
Attention to bowling alley owners in town (especially you AMF owners) their needs to be a partnership in helping to promote this event coming back to Wisconsin. I understand that many of you probably think since you aren’t hosting the qualifying tournaments or the TV finals that it does you no good to promote it. Well, you’re WRONG!
The PBA tour is free marketing for what you do, regardless if you like the current product or not, use it to your advantage. I get that many of you want the good old days of Marhsall Holman and Mark Roth back, well those days are behind us and have been replaced by a pretty good rivalry in Sean Rash versus Jason Belmonte. TV ratings on ESPN are up 15% this year for the PBA and you haven’t done a thing to help this process. How many Sunday’s go by without the PBA event being on a single TV set in your building? I understand in the beginning of the year the NFL is king. However, that’s over now, so you don’t have an excuse.
What’s the solution? It’s pretty simple, let’s first start with each center in town making announcements at their centers during each league. How long does it take to write a liner card for your staff to read once or twice during league play? I don’t want to hear more stories like I heard on Sunday morning from my co-host Van McNeil about going to Waukesha AMF and the staff there not knowing details about the PBA coming to THEIR center in May.
As far as you Pro Shop owners go, I’m trying to figure out why when you are selling bowling balls to people, especially kids, why aren’t you saying “This is one of the balls that Sean Rash throws or this is what Jason Belmonte uses”? What’s the worst case scenario? the person says “Who is that?” Then you can explain to them to watch a PBA show to see how the ball works for them and how it can work for you.
The commissioner of the PBA, Tom Clark, can only do so much. At some point, the people in towns across this country that run bowling centers and pro shops need to step to the plate and do their part. If people don’t want to help, then don’t cry when you are filing for bankruptcy because nobody is coming to your center because bowling isn’t popular enough.
Below is my take from the games I watched between Monday, July 16th and Thursday, July 20th.
Keith Benson- F/C- 6’11”- I was impressed from what I saw a year ago. He seems more comfortable around the rim and looks like he belongs now.
John Jenkins-SG-6/4”- A Hawks first round pick, Jenkins was known for his shooting but displayed quickness that many
didn’t anticipate. I didn’t have a huge opinion on Jenkins coming out of school but I really liked what I saw in Vegas.
Jordan Taylor-G-6’1”- While you hope he can make a roster, I think it will be difficult because of his lack of quickness. His basketball IQ is very high but will it be enough to earn him a spot in the NBA?
Derrick Caracter- F-6’9”- Liked him coming out of college but based on what I saw, it appears he’s headed back to the D-League. If I was his agent, I’d work on getting him in better shape.
Jared Sullinger-F-6’9”- He looked like a senior playing against underclassmen. I didn’t see any signs of his back being an issue. You really couldn’t see the full impact of what he will be as the summer league games don’t believe in post play.
Fab Melo-C-7’0”- He needs some of Jordan Taylor’s basketball IQ. Melo looked lost a majority of the time I watched him. He has the physical tools but will his brain be able to keep up with the complexities of the NBA?
Byron Mullens-C-7’0”- While us Bucks fans have seen him have success, I think most are starting to believe that he might end up being the player that some thought coming out of Ohio St. While the horrible season by the Bobcats didn’t net Anthony Davis, it did net an invaluable amount of experience for Mullens.
Kemba Walker-G-6’1”- He appears to be a huge disappointment. I’m not sure he can even be a Ben Gordon type player in this league. His shot remains inconsistent and his ability to make the right pass remains non-existent.
Marquis Teague-PG-6’2”-He’s a solid PG. Teague didn’t make any glaring mistakes. Not an all-star guard but a solid one.
Leon Powe-PF-6’8”- Why again was he there? I tend to believe if you are a vet then you better play like one against a bunch of 1st and 2nd year players. He didn’t stand out at all, other than trying to start crap with opposing players.
Tristan Thompson-PF-6’9”- I was really impressed by how he really dominated at times in the paint. This is another example like Mullens, of a guy who took advantage of the increased minutes given to him by a bad team. He could be a breakout player in 2012.
Dion Waiters-G-6’3”- Wasn’t really good but displayed his quick first step and ability to blow by people. He showed toughness when driving the lane and finishing around the rim. His shot leaves a lot to be desired but he doesn’t need his jumper to score. It was interesting that while he didn’t start at Syracuse, he didn’t even start on his summer league team.
Jae Crowder-F-6’6”- Really liked what I saw from him. One scout asked “What do they do to those at kids at Marquette? They’re all really tough, scrappy type of guys.” Crowder isn’t a special player but he can hit the three, provide some solid defense, and provide a spark of energy when he’s on the floor.
Dominique Jones-SG-6’5”- I had high hopes for Jones coming out of South Florida a couple of years ago but it doesn’t appear he has improved in any area. The other issue with him is he thinks he is much then he actually is which results in bulk shooting with a low field goal percentage.
David Harrison-C-7’0”- For a guy with four years of experience, you would expect more then what I saw. He’s a seven foot five year old with the way he acts on seemingly every possession. Body language is something that as a young player you expect not to be the best but with maturity it should get better. I’d argue he’s actually gotten worse as he’s gotten older.
Evan Fournier-G/F-6’7”- Didn’t see the Nuggets but once however a guy that people like a bunch is Evan Fournier from France. The people that saw him play told me that they think he could be a real nice piece for a championship caliber team in the next few years.
Solomon Alabi-C-7’1”- Torn meniscus took out early on and being a free agent probably cost him a chance to be on a roster this season. One other note, these Florida State guys are real tight with one another. I’d say Marquette and them were the two schools that really supported each other the best.
Golden State Warriors
Charles Jenkins-PG-6’3”- He showed flashes of greatness that got people really excited. However, he still needs to play under a little more often but I like what I saw. Considering Stephen Curry will probably not the be the future point guard for Golden State, Jenkins needs to make the most of his opportunities to show he can be that guy.
Harrison Barnes-F-6’8”-He played well in his first game which I didn’t see as I was still in Milwaukee but was very underwhelming after that. Golden State people are impressed by how explosive he has shown he can be in practice. I on the other hand didn’t see it translate to game situations.
Royce White-F-6’8”- Prior to the draft many suggested to us on the Wendy’s Big Show that the Bucks should target White with their draft selection. I was opposed to it, but let me say that I came away impressed with what I saw. His maturity level is that of a veteran and court vision is that of a point guard. I knew had a knack for passing but his understanding of everything going on around him really makes him dangerous. White also appeared more physical when banging inside then I thought. Leon Powe got into it with him and he stood his ground and didn’t get sucked into Powe’s antics.
Jeremy Lamb-SG-6’5”- In person, you really appreciate how long he truly is. His wingspan will help him to become a really good defender, that if he wants to put in the time to do so. Silky smooth player but I have to say there is something about him that bugs me. I think it’s maybe his demeanor or the fact that he really wasn’t talking with any of his teammates. Either way, I’m sure I’m just reading into stuff.
Terrence Jones-F-6’9”-He fell down the board on draft night to Houston and the Rockets appear to have a guy who has the knack for knowing when and where to be. Jones is a solid player. I heard an interesting tidbit that the Rockets were apparently drafting Jones for another team to trade him but were told by the other team that in fact Jones wasn’t their guy like the Rockets had thought. That mistake might prove to be a stroke of good luck.
Scott Machado-PG- 6’1”- Not sure if he can be a starting point guard in this league but I see no reason why he can’t be a nice option off the bench. Machado shows he can get good penetration and has the ability to kick in traffic to the open player. Those qualities should find him a spot on somebody’s roster by the end of the season.
Marcus Morris-F-6’9”- Having a brother like I do I know brothers can be very different. In this case, the Rockets have the wrong Morris on their team. Totally non-existent in the time I saw him.
Los Angeles Clippers
-Didn’t see them play-
Los Angeles Lakers
Darius Morris-PG-6’5”- There were questions coming out of Michigan if he could play the point. I’m pretty sure he proved that he is more than capable of creating for others and makes smart decisions when running the offense. He didn’t shoot well early but got better as the games went on. I like him.
Darius Johnson-Odom-G-6’3”- He was simply bad. I’m pretty confident in saying he couldn’t have played worse than he did. The D-League is in his future. He must work better at getting teammates involved and understanding the difference between a good shot and a bad shot.
-Didn’t see them play-
Norris Cole-PG-6’2”- Looked like a guy that was in the NBA already. Looked like a guy who understood how to run an offense and when he needed to be the guy to score. I believe he can be a solid point guard if given the chance to do it.
Dexter Pittman-PF-6’11”-He has the body of Packers rookie DT Jerel Worthy more than of an NBA player. I think he needs to lose some weight and get some quickness. I didn’t hear anybody being impressed by him.
Tobias Harris-SF-6’8”- He played at a different level then everybody else. His offense is good enough to be starting for the Bucks, but will his lackadaisical defense keep him on the bench?
John Henson-PF-6’11”- His energy makes up for his lack of weight. His one post move that he showed was a lefty hook while he shot his mid-range jumper with his right hand. Henson needs another move in the post and he’ll need to show that he can face up bigger defenders and drive past them. His jumper was short most of the time hitting the front of the rim, which might have been due to weak legs from illness/amount of minutes he was getting.
Doron Lamb- SG-6’4”- He is your new 6th man of the future. Lamb will be a shooter that can come off the bench and provide some offense. He reminds me of a better version of Jodie Meeks.
Jarrid Famous-PF-6’11’- The South Florida product impressed in his Summer League time he was given and did virtually everything right. He’s a technically sound ball player that will help a team. It’s just not going to be the Bucks who are stacked at the power forward position already. I don’t believe he is thick enough to play the center position.
Larry Sanders-PF-6’11”- My patience is running thin with him taking jumpers when he might be one of the ten worst shooters in the league. Horrible decision maker with the ball (did make one nice pass). His role should that of Dalembert, shot blocker and rebounder with an occasional dunk. Once he knows his role and accepts it, the better off the Bucks and Sanders will be.
Kammron Taylor-PG-6’2”- I really like what I saw from the former Badgers guard who has been playing in Ukraine. He’s in real good shape and ran the team well. Taylor is probably bound to be overseas for his career but a nice player.
Wes Johnson-G/F-6’7”- Yet again another guy who needs to work on being more physical and getting quicker off the dribble. He is so stiff for a shooting guard. I didn’t see any difference in him from the regular season until present.
Derrick Williams-F-6’8”- He shouldn’t be in the Vegas Summer League. When you go as high as he did in the draft and do as little as he did really makes you wonder. One personal guy said he is just a ballplayer rather than a small forward or a power forward by definition. I tend to have visions of Marcus Fizer while watching him play.
New Orleans Hornets
Austin Rivers-G-6’4”- He looked overwhelmed from one of the Summer League. Rivers didn’t play toward the end because of what the Hornets deemed as leg soreness. There really wasn’t much of anything good about what I saw of out him. There were questions on him if he could play point guard at the next level, I don’t have the answer for that just yet be couldn’t even score in Vegas. He may regret leaving Duke after just one year.
Xavier Henry-G-6’6”- Put a fork in him, he’s done. I wish I knew why he seemingly has never taken the next step. He has lots of talent but can’t figure out how to use it.
New York Knicks
Nobody stood out
Markieff Morris-F-6’10”- He was simply dominant. Morris looked like a future all-star at times while playing in Las Vegas. If he brings the effort every night like he did during the Summer League, watch out!
Diante Garrett- G-6’4”- I thought he represented himself quite nicely in Vegas. I’m not sure if he is an NBA player but certainly can get a job overseas for a number of years.
Kendall Marshall-PG-6’4”- The first game I saw him was the single worst point guard performance I can remember watching. He didn’t do a single thing right. The second game he improved but still not to the level expected by me when having watched him play at UNC.
Patrick O’Bryant-C-7’0”- Whoever pays this guy to play basketball should have their head examined. He’s simply not very good. He did have a beautiful female companion.
Damian Lillard-PG-6’3”- He was the most impressive player during the time I was there. Lillard displays Iverson like quickness with a great ability to finish around the rim after having been fouled. He’s got Russell Westbrook like explosion. His leaping ability allows him to hang for seemingly ever before hanging to fire up a shot in traffic. Lillard showed good court vision while making a couple great passes to guys cutting baseline.
Will Barton-SG-6’6”- While the spotlight was on Lillard, Barton did his job by hitting open jumpers when they were available. The backcourt of Lillard/Barton could be a scary proposition for defenses for years to come.
Luke Babbitt-F-6’9”/ Jon Diebler-G-6’6”- Both of these players couldn’t hit a jumper if their life depended on it in Vegas. Babbitt is simply not at the level needed to be worth where he was drafted a couple of years ago. I will say it, Luke Babbitt equals bust!
Jimmer Fredette-G-6’2”- He showed his shooting touch that had people drooling when he came out of BYU. Fredette needs to be utilized properly as a spot up shooter and nothing more then that.
Thomas Robinson-PF-6’9”- He himself admitted to playing bad, citing that the only thing he did well was pass the basketball. Clearly the Kings weren’t envisioning what they got from Robinson in Vegas and can only hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. I don’t believe he’s as bad as he played.
San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard-SF-6’7”- This is another guy who simply was dominant when he wanted to be. He’s a very good basketball player that most of the league missed on, during draft day last year.
James Anderson-SG-6’6”- The more you watch younger players come into the NBA the more you realize how difficult it is to forecast just how good they might be at the next level. Anderson is one who I clearly missed on. He is very underwhelming when you simply watch him from play to play.
Terrence Ross-SG-6’7”- My guy! He didn’t disappoint in Vegas by putting on a clinic when he had the ball. Ross isn’t a dynamic guard like Lillard of Portland but probably is better than Landry Fields on offense already. If I was DeMar DeRozan, I wouldn’t be getting too comfy in Toronto.
Ben Uzoh-PG-6’2”- He played well in the Orlando Summer League and he was good in Las Vegas. He’s deserving of a bench spot somewhere in the NBA.
Daniel Orton-C-6’10”- A message from me to Mr. Orton: If you don’t want to play NBA basketball and you don’t want to commit yourself to the game then maybe you should just quit! It’s an insult to see this guy on the floor and think that somebody is paying their hard earned money to watch this out of shape kid go through the motions.
Bradley Beal-SG-6’5”- He was a solid performer. Beal displayed his ability to be an intimidating and tough defender. I will say that he didn’t exhibit that special quality I was looking for on the offensive end.
Thomas Satoransky-SG-6’7”- A player out of the Czech Republic that looks to be a young athletic wing player that will serve the Wizards well in the future. He can shoot the rock, while still being able to put the ball on the floor and not embarrass himself. There is still question of whether he will play in the league this year or return overseas.