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Coaches Corner – 3/16/12

16 Mar

Coach’s Corner

March 16, 2012

I have lots to talk about today . . . . . so let’s get it going.

Where do I start?  March Madness?  Peyton ManningMike D’Antoni?  The bizarre Dwight Howard situation?  And baseball is right around the corner.

The Syracuse Orange entered the tournament with a legit shot at winning Coach Jim Boeheim another championship.  This season has had numerous obstacles that should have or could have derailed what has been an outstanding year.

Bernie Fine, longtime assistant coach and friend of Jim Boeheim, was fired for a sex scandal to begin the season.

A report came out that 10 Syracuse Orange players had failed a drug test and were allowed to continue to practice and play without suspensions over the last few years.

Fab Melo was eligible, then ineligible, then eligible, then named Big East Defensive player of the year, then ineligible for the tournament.

My boy, Coach Schott said that word out of Syracuse on Melo’s troubles are far and few to find.

“They have been real tight-lipped.” He said.

With all that said, Jim Boeheim has done a tremendous job of keeping his team focused.  Boeheim, in his 36th season as head coach at Syracuse, now is tasked with possibly changing his game plan.

I know my man Coach Schott wouldn’t mind seeing the Orange use their athleticism more.  Could this set-back be a blessing for the team?

Along the same lines, Charles Barkley said before the Orange opened the tournament that Melo not being there would move the Orange out of their legendary 2-3 zone.

We have heard all year about the depth of the Orange and how the second unit could win games in the Big East.

Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardein need to step up.  But the key, and possibly the horse that the Orange need to ride, is Dion Waiters.  Waiters is a star.  His performance in the Big East tournament was epic and he almost willed the Orange to a victory over Cincinnati.

@davechazzer said it best (as usual), “The Fab Melo situation is another obstacle in the most difficult year of Syracuse basketball we’ve ever seen.  What’s next?  Derrick Coleman getting struck by lightning?  It wouldn’t surprise me if they won it all and it would go down as one of the best coaching jobs ever.  I was loving me some ‘Cuse but . . . . “

Big E, a 6’9 former college basketball player out of the Philadelphia Catholic school league, laughs when you mention Syracuse full-time student and college hoops.

Did you know that legislation about graduation rates could prevent teams from participating in the Big Dance?

We will see if that actually happens with the amount of money college basketball produces for their respected institutions.

I don’t understand the play in games for the tournament.hg  While I like the action and they produced some memorable moments (unless you are Iona), why are the play in games not against the top seed?

Someone needs to explain that one to me.

I asked my boys for their selections for the tournament.

My son Andrew has North Carolina, Ohio State, Baylor, and Kentucky.  Kentucky is his champion.

Big E out of Philly likes Kentucky, Carolina, FSU, and Michigan State.  Kentucky wins it all but then Big E says Kentucky will have the title stripped in 2014 or 2015.  Ha!

“Does Coach Cal put two forfeited Final Fours on his resume?” Big E wonders.

Coach Schott likes Kentucky, Vandy, NC, and Missouri with NC winning it all.

@yankeetodd1 like’s Kentucky, Carolina, Syracuse, and Missouri with NC winning it all.

My brother Sean took an interesting approach to his bracket.  He selected teams based on where he lived in his life.

He likes Baylor, Syracuse, Long Island University (loaded with San Antonio high school talent.  Julian Boyd and Justin Brinkman are their stars.  They have another Alamo City star joining them next year in Taurian Waller-Prince) and Vermont.  He has Syracuse winning it all.

Former college baseball player, Aaron Semper likes Kentucky, Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio State.  He likes Kansas to defeat Kentucky to win it all.

IKE teaching legend, Mr. P likes Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan and Florida State.  He likes Michigan to upset Kentucky.  Interesting picks from a great man.

The Knicks dysfunctional marriage ended with Mike D’Antoni walking away.  It was no secret that Melo and D’Antoni were never going to work together and D’Antoni walked away before he was fired.

Melo has maintained that he had nothing to do with the firing of the coach but let’s face it . . . something had to give.  If the locker room was lost then, the only move was to part ways with the coach.

What can we expect with Mike Woodson?

Mike is smart enough to know that Melo likes the ball on the block.  Melo will get more touches in his comfort zone.

Amare will get the ball more.

The team will play harder over the next few games and they can probably put a few wins together and they should make the playoffs.  But if they face the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat – its one and done for the Knicks.

Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls put together a spirited effort to beat the Heat.  Yes, without Derrick Rose.  That doesn’t bode well for the rest of the Eastern Conference.

There is lots of talk about who will coach the Knicks next year?   Will it be Phil JacksonGeorge Karl?  John CalapariMike Woodson?

I want Phil Jackson.  Let’s hope it can happen.

As Lin-Sanity comes back to earth, the gem of this team has been Tyson Chandler.  I absolutely love Chandler.  Basketball players today should watch the way Chandler plays.

He is the ultimate teammate.  He hustles and plays as hard as he can every time he is on the court.  He doesn’t complain and is highly respected around the league.

Melo could learn a lot from his teammate. 

Peyton Manning is still deciding where he will play next season.  Does the Reggie Wayne signing with the Colts indicate that Manning has ruled out Miami?  I think so but the Manning camp continues to say he has not ruled out any teams yet.

Right now, it appears that Manning is deciding between the Tennessee Titans and the Denver Broncos. 

Manning played his college ball at the University of Tennessee.

Manning has to be drooling at the thought of handing the ball off to Chris Johnson.  In fact, Chris Johnson should be begging Peyton to bring his talents to his huddle.

Kenny Britt, if healthy, gives Manning a deep threat.

@davechazzer is a huge Titans fan.

He says that Manning will have plenty of offensive weapons to throw to.

Nate Washington, Damien Williams, and Donnie Avery are targets that fantasy owners could draft very highly if Manning lands in Tennessee.

@davechazzer really is high on tight end Jarod Cook.  He says that Cook is a bigger version of Jermichael Finley.  @davechazzer doesn’t rule out signing Dallas Clark either.

The signing of former Viking Steve Hutchinson to bolster their offensive line is an excellent addition also.

I don’t see him in Denver.  I think Manning makes the commitment and is a Tennessee Titan next year.

Does anyone follow Chris Johnson on twitter?

Let’s hope Peyton doesn’t read this tweets.  They genuinely don’t make sense, include lots of profanity, and are a running conversation between who knows who.

How about the Buffalo Bills making a huge splash by signing Mario Williams?  Western New York hasn’t seen a defensive freak like Williams since #78, Bruce Smith.

The Bills had a defense that ranked # 26th in NFL last year.  Williams instantly makes the defense sooooo much better.

@davechazzer brought up a great point about the Bills signing of Williams.  His take is this, “The two teams that have historically not participated in free agency are the Titans and Bills.  Two old guys who helped make the NFL.  I guess it’s now or never for these two hall of fame owners.”

I loved this next nugget.

“I’ll take that coffin and that star DE.”

Big Game Philip James, a huge Buffalo Bill fan, calls the move by the Bills a “Great Job.”

Big Game recently underwent neck surgery.  Some think the surgery will end his driveway basketball career or his flag football career.

Has Big Game reached out to Peyton Manning for any advice?  This old Coach is trying to broker that conversation.

Big Game averaged a first down every time he caught the ball in high school as a backup receiver and special team guru.  He only had one catch in his career.

In “TheGame” against South Seneca High School where “The Catch” took place, Big Game took a pass from QB Joe Amrose and moved the chains 11 yards.

Coach Schott, in attendance at the game, said if Big Game would have cut to the outside he might have scored.

Still to this day, “The Catch” means something in our high school football discussions.

The Spurs made news at the trade deadline by dealing Richard Jefferson and a first round pick to the Golden State Warriors for former Spur Stephen Jackson.

I love the move.

Jackson provides another scoring option and an attitude that is needed in the playoffs.  Jackson played with the Spurs when they won an NBA championship in 2003.

Remember my theory on acquiring players that some have deemed crazy.

All great teams have to have one crazy guy.  “Jax” gives the nice guy Spurs their crazy guy.

Jackson has come a long way from his time in New Jersey.  At one point, then Coach Byron Scott said he would rather play with one less player on the court than with “Jax”.  Jackson is a career 16.1 point per game scorer but this year he is averaging only 10.5 ppg.

Did you know that Spurs Coach Greg Popovich has been named NBA Coach of the Month for a record 13 times now?  He recently passed Pat Riley for top honor.

Popovich was reportedly embarrassed about the first round exit of the Spurs last year, has done an incredible job this year.

I just don’t get the weird Dwight Howard situation.

In the end, he signed paperwork that waived his early termination option and he will remain a member of the Magic for at least another year.

Howard walked away from 20+ million dollars long-term, which he should be applauded for.  But it was Howard who criticized management for not surrounding himself with enough pieces to win a championship that made this blogger feel he would definitely end up in Brooklyn.

I used to think the guy was funny, bnow I just think the guy is weird.

I feel bad for Jay Z and the Nets Russian owner.  I also feel for Deron Williams.  Howard publicly said he wanted to be in Brooklyn.  He owes those men an apology.

The New York Giants, with a glaring need at tight end, have signed former Texas A&M and Dallas Cowboy, Martellus Bennett.

Bennett is extremely athletic and an excellent run blocker.

I always thought that Bennett could emerge as a poor man’s Jermichael Finely.  Even if he doesn’t, with the loss of Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum to injuries, the one year deal for Bennett is a great move.

If you are ever in San Antonio, Texas and are looking for good BBQ, try Texas Pride BBQ.  My wife and I had the best ribs we have ever had there.

Speaking of food, San Antonio lost a food legend with the passing of Chris Madrid this week.

Chris Madrids, a local hamburger place, is a must visit if you are in the Alamo City.  Their tostada burger is legendary.  Their burger is topped with refried beans, chips, onions, and cheddar cheese.  You top the burger with salsa and pico de gallo and it’s absolutely incredible.

Said Coach Woods, “If there is a better burger than that, I want one.”

My wife Sharon and I go throughout the year, but we go every Martin Luther King Day.  We have gone for the past five years.  I look forward to that burger.

Rest in peace Mr. Madrid.

Follow me on twitter @yankeetodd1

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