Founded in 1963, the Big Sky Conference consists of nine public collegiate institutions situated all over the western region of the United States.
Notable conference members include Weber State, Montana State, Portland State, Northern Arizona, and Eastern Washington. Constantly in the shadow of larger and grander collegiate sporting conferences, the Big Sky Conference isn’t known for producing a large crop of athletes ready to compete at the professional level. Yet last night at the 2012 NBA Draft, Weber State’s coveted point guard Damian Lillard found himself ascending center stage as the Portland Trailblazer’s sixth overall pick, the third Big Sky basketball player in the history of the conference ever to be selected in the first round of an NBA Draft. (more…)
If you watched the NBA Draft on Thursday night, odds were you had to wake yourself up on a few different occasions.
There were no mega deals, veterans to new teams or huge surprises. It was just a basic, boring draft. Every year the NBA Draft usually has some sort of spunk, but 2012’s was a snoozer. And one team was especially quiet despite doing everything imaginable to make some noise prior to the draft.
Call me crazy, but weren’t the Houston Rockets supposed to turn themselves into the fantastic franchise they once were in the days of Hakeem Olajuwon? It seemed during the days approaching the draft the Rockets were geared up to do so and had the appropriate arsenal to rebuild in just one offseason. So what happened? Here’s a list of Houston’s mistakes during the NBA Draft and in the short-lived offseason, so far.
• Missing out on Howard
I thought the reason the Rockets made trades for all of these picks was to obtain Dwight Howard. And hell, they probably could’ve had Superman. The only problem was that D12 doesn’t want to play for Houston, which probably spoiled a lot of the team’s plans for this season’s draft.
What boggles my mind is why Howard doesn’t want to play for the Rockets. This is a franchise that once was one of the greatest teams in the NBA and has tried just about everything to regain that image for the past two seasons. Houston can’t, however, because marquee players don’t want to play there for some reason. It seems to me that Houston is a basketball town. The days of Hakeen, Clyde the Glide and Charles Barkey are over, but lately the front office has made valiant efforts to land superstars — more than one.
Last season, the Rockets tried to obtain Pau Gasol and the trade fell through, mainly because NBA commisioner David Stern didn’t want Chris Paul to join the Lakers. So what how did the Rockets respond? They finished out the shortened 2012 campaign, missing the playoffs and decided to aim high, really high this offseason. (more…)
Bloggers from Couchsideshow.com are constantly reading some pretty silly headlines from all across the wide world of sports. Whether it’s about an athlete being seen at a mall or an irrelevant trade, the fact is, someone has written about it. Sometimes these “stories” are annoying. Sometime they are entertaining. So we’ve decided to take a look at three of these headlines and make a weekly blog: “Why should we care?” Enjoy part one of the ongoing series …
BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
• Reds closer Aroldis Chapman does double somersaults after save: Some fans (especially Brewers faithful) are loudly screaming foul after witnessing reds flamethrower Aroldis Chapman show off his tumbling skills Tuesday night. In fact, it pissed off Milwaukee players, Reds manager Dusty Baker and even Chapman’s Cincinnati teammates. I guess there is a law out against having fun. We’ve all seen boring handshakes after a closer puts another one in the books. So why not spice things up a little bit? I mean Chapman is a young player, who needed to brighten his own spirits after having himself a pretty bad month of shutting down games. Chapman hasn’t pitched like himself in the month of June, blowing three saves and taking a loss in his last 10 games. While his post-save actions may have been considered bush league, it’s nice to see a player show a little bit of life, especially in a slow sport like baseball. We would like to show you a full video of what he did, but YouTube was at least able to provide some response videos with some pictures. See below to check it out:
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
The Couch Side Podcast celebrates its 20th episode with a show that’s almost entirely about the NBA. Hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul discuss the Miami Heat’s second championship and perform an NBA Mock Draft all in one episode. Then in Quick Snippets, our hosts answer a question from the mailbag about how much wood a woodchuck would chuck, grunting in tennis and Michael Vick and Pacman Jones addressing NFL rookies. Click below to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast …
With Fantasy Football quickly approaching, it’s not a surprise to see NFL player rankings all across the wide world web.
From the experts themselves, Fantasy managers will be bombarded with a plethora of information on who to take in the first rounds of their respective drafts. Some will say, Tom Brady is a lock for MVP this season; while others are betting Maurice Jones-Drew will have a repeat performance of an incredible 2011 season. So how much are we supposed to buy into these early predictions?
From my experience, stay on your own and just go with your gut. I let the analysts from ESPN, Yahoo Sports! and even Twitter dictate too much of my draft last year, which resulted in me selecting Houston Texans running back Arian Foster with the No. 1 overall pick and later trading him straight up for Jamaal Charles, who tore his ACL in Week One.
Why did do this? Because the analysts told me so. Everyone was scared of Arian Foster’s legs. And while it did have him sidelined for the first few weeks, his return was nothing short of spectacular. So I’ve decided not to listen to the so called experts when it comes to draft time this Fantasy Football season, especially when it comes to running back Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons. (more…)
BY JOHN MCCULLOUGH, Feedcrossing.com syndication
The Braves are rumored to be interested in Chicago Cubs‘ starters Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. Garza earns $9.5MM this season and will be arbitration-eligible for the final time this offseason. He currently has a 4.07 ERA, but he is still only 28 years old and has a 3.85 career ERA.
Dempster is 35 years old and has a 2.11 ERA this season. He is in the final year of a four-year contract with the Cubs. He has a career 4.33 ERA.
The Braves’ starting rotation currently has the fourth-worst ERA in the National League. Those numbers include Beachy, who was the major league leader in earned run average. Tommy Hanson is the only pitcher with above average numbers at the moment. Tim Hudson has had an up-and-down season thus far and will likely be pitching with ankle soreness for the remainder of the year. (more…)
It pains me as much as the next person to say this, but LeBron James has stuck it to his haters. The guy that goes by King James now has his ring and he did it in style, completely dismantling all opponents that stood in his way as if he was on a mission to prove the doubters the wrong.
For all the evil that the Miami Heat represents, they are now the NBA Champions and none other than LeBron James was at the forefront. Sure there was Mario Chalmers‘ 25 point performance in Game 4 of the Finals and Mike Miller’s insane three-point barrage en route to 23 points in Game 5, but LeBron was so dominant that it made people oblivious to Dwyane Wade’s struggles for most of the postseason. Where was the hate on D-Wade?
Count me as one of the seemingly millions of people that despised LeBron for the way he left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers through The Decision. He went from one of the most beloved players to the most over scrutinized and polarizing athlete this side of Tim Tebow. Even I thought LeBron was under the microscope way too much.
Through all of my hate though, there was no lost respect for the player on the court. No, even as a Chicago Bulls fan, I was not blind to the truth that there is no more dominant player in the game than LeBron James (my apologies to Derrick Rose). He may never be MJ, but has the game ever seen anyone that possessed a more dominant package of power and strength yet played the game with more speed and grace than one would expect from a 250-pound freak of nature? Combine that with an incredibly high basketball IQ and you’ve got a three-time MVP with many more to come. The only thing that was missing was the bling on his ring finger and supposedly the “clutch gene.” (more…)
BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com blogger
As of this writing, Derek Jeter is only 6 hits away from tying Cal Ripken Jr. at 3,184 for 14th on the all time hits list.
It’s a bit surprising that this story hasn’t been bigger in terms of the ESPN media conglomerate, or elsewhere, everyone is too busy dissecting the NBA Finals to fully appreciate great contextual moments in baseball history no doubt. In fact, Jeter hasn’t been that a big story since his 3000th hit last July, so maybe the shock and awe of reaching 3K hasn’t carried over to passing up these hall of fame players this season:
Dave Winfield- 3,110
Tony Gwynn- 3,141
Robin Yount- 3,142
Paul Waner- 3,152
George Brett- 3,154
Three of the most successful hitters in baseball history in Gwynn, Yount, and Brett and Jeter speed past them without looking back. Once Cal is passed, Jeter’s next big hurdle will be Willie Mays at 3,283 (of which I suspect will be a big deal coverage wise) and Carl Yastrzemski at 3,419, much to the chagrin of Red Sox fans. (more…)
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
Co-Host Craig Paul is back for this week’s episode, which features discussions about the NBA Finals, LaDainian Tomlinsons’ retirement, the US Open, the Roger Clemens Trial and a debate about the Olympic USA men’s basketball team having an age limit. Click below to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side podcast!
BY GORDON ROBINSON, Feedcrossing.com syndication
On the 20th anniversary of “The Dream Team,” NBA commissioner David Stern has gone on the record to state that maybe Olympic Basketball should adopt a soccer type of system where players on the roster are 23 and under of age. The idea seems to be a popular one as many NBA team owners have agreed with the concept. It is yet to be decided if FIBA (International Basketball Federation) and the other countries would be up for that model. It would be an interesting concept and it makes putting a competitive team together a little tougher, so let’s take a look at who some of the candidates would be to make a 23-Under Olympic Team.
- Derrick Rose (questionable with the knee injury) (Chicago Bulls)
- Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
- Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Caveliers)
- John Wall (Washington Wizards)
- Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks) (more…)
BY BRETT MURDOCK AND MATTHEW VINSKO, Couchsideshow.com bloggers
No Way Out. Three words that when grouped together create an idea of fear, panic and the unknown. That is what the WWE is aiming for this Sunday when the company puts on the pay-per-view live from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. However, only two of the matches on the card create that sense of paranoia and helplessness, and even then, it is a risk even calling them big time main events. WWE’s last PPV, Over the Limit, was pretty good but the transition to this month’s show has been sloppy, unorganized and for lack of a better word, facepalm-esque. Ok, so that’s not a word. Sue us.
So, after failing to ingratiate you with our presence with Over the Limit predictions, we are back to hit you with some in-depth knowledge and full-scale awesomeness. So sit back and enjoy while we tell you what we think will happen this Sunday in a world dominated by a fake reality, guys in tights and Speedos, and terrible announcing.
This blog wasn’t able to be uploaded before the event on Sunday night. In addition to Brett’s and Matt’s predictions, Couch Side has also provided the results in the headline of each match.
Brodus Clay defeated David Otunga
Brett: Thank goodness that this match will be the pre-show display, because I have no interest in witnessing a dancing fat guy facing off against a muscular version of Carlton Banks. Ever since returning as a guy who was infected with disco fever, Brodus Clay has been squashing jobbers left and right and has never really been given any true direction with his character. The closest he came was a couple of weeks ago when he challenged Big Show, but nothing came of that. He was entertaining when he came back after having a reputation as a monster heel, but has become stale since. Otunga has developed a nice role as the coffee-sipping right-hand man to General Manager John Laurinaitis. His gimmick has drawn comparisons to that of former WWE superstar Chris Masters, due to his physique and entrance displays. As far as the match itself, I’m going to go with Clay due to the fact that the crowd will enjoy it and hopefully set the tone for a night that on paper, seems destined to be very underwhelming.
Winner: Brodus Clay (more…)
Every year a few Major League Baseball teams never cease to amaze me.
I’m not talking about clubs that are filled with stars on their rosters or even automatic playoff contenders. The thing I love most about baseball is the small market teams that somehow make noise at the beginning of every year. Some fans will call them “Cinderella Stories.” Some analysts will break them down as contenders or pretenders — not understanding the real story behind their rises to the top.
A perfect example of this type of team with more believers on it than star athletes that a lot of people would know was the Oakland Athletics of the early 2000s. However, even those clubs, which had extremely low payrolls, still had big bats and names that made them competitive.
When I look at this year’s group of teams that might fit into that category, three stick out like sore thumbs and are right in the mix to win their respective divisions. We often write these sorts of teams off and don’t believe in them down the stretch, but hey, they sure make the game exciting. So here’s a look at three clubs that are in second place and leaving baseball fans scratching their heads:
For the second year in a row, the Tribe is earning pre All-Star Game hype and should perhaps challenge the Chicago Whitesox for an AL Central crown if all goes well. Last season Cleveland flopped after starting the 2011 campaign with a stellar 30-15 record in its first 45 games. Injuries ended up throwing the Indians out of contention, but now they have came roaring back. And when any fan examines the roster, the first question they would have to ask is, ‘how?’ (more…)
BY IAN PALMER,Feedcrossing.com syndication
Undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr., arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, has apparently met his match outside of the ring at the Clark County Detention Center, where he says the conditions are inhumane.
The 35-year-old Mayweather has reportedly asked to serve the remainder of his three-month jail sentence on house arrest. Richard Wright, the boxer’s lawyer, filed a 35-page emergency motion on June 11 which said his client’s physical conditioning will deteriorate in jail and it may harm his future boxing career. Mayweather has been segregated from the prison’s general population for his own safety which means he’s allegedly confined in his cell for 23 hours each day. The other hour is spent in the facility’s recreation area.
It was reported that Dr. Robert Voy, and Leonard Ellerbe, the boxer’s personal physician and trainer, has signed affidavits regarding Mayweather’s condition. The motion states that Mayweather consumes fewer than 800 calories each day and is buying energy bars, fruit, and bread that he purchases at the jail commissary. He supposedly consumes approximately up to 4,000 calories a day while training.
BY MATTHEW VINSKO, Couchsideshow.com blogger
When it comes to sports, people often look to the veteran teams to pave the way for younger talent. This year, however, two young teams have cemented their place in the NBA, systematically decimating their opponents and showing their time is now.
The Miami Heat, while relatively young, have championship pedigree and something to prove after last season’s meltdown against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks. This season proved to be a frustrating one for many a Heat fan. LeBron James was often times erratic, again. Chris Bosh wasn’t living up to his hefty payday a year ago. Dwayne Wade has shown glimpses of greatness, but been bogged down by injuries. The Heat went from being the favorite at times this season to being a laughing stock due to their inconsistent play. (more…)
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
Regular Co-Host Craig Paul is out this week, so Wade McMillin takes over the reigns to host our 18th episode all by himself. Wade previews the NBA playoffs, finally talks some baseball, discusses the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley decision and takes a look at Brock Lesnar’s possible return to the UFC.
BY RYAN DESMARAIS, Feedcrossing.com syndication
Fans of the Boston Celtics better be prepared to hear stories like this for the next few months.
While we await word of whether or not Kevin Garnett will return for his 18th season, we are already hearing that a team not named the Boston Celtics is interested in his services should he decide to lace up his ANTA kicks next year. The interested team is the San Antonio Spurs. (San Antonio Express-News)
The Spurs will consider everything and everyone this summer when free agency begins. But one option tossed out this weekend by one in the Spurs organization is not just another name.
Garnett could retire. He could sign another contract with the Celtics. Or the Celtics might not want to sign him so they can begin rebuilding.
Some will have more money to offer than the Spurs will. Some might have more young talent to put around him. All the Spurs could give Garnett is the closest thing to what he had in Boston, a veteran core with a chance to contend. (more…)
BY JON FRANK, Couchsideshow.com contributor
How? Was the first thing that came to my head. Miami’s got the three-time MVP (LeBron James), the NBA’s Batman and his Robin (Dwyane Wade), not to mention a semi-healthy Chris Bosh. Boston’s got what’s left of the Big Three and Rajon Rondo. This shouldn’t happen. It defies all notions of NBA logic. In professional basketball, superstars are supposed to strap in, go off for 30 a night and carry their inferior, but well-meaning teammates, along for the ride. But watching the Celtics win three straight against the Heat – and listening to Michael Wilbon and the boys’ postgame analysis – it made me remember how much of a team sport basketball is.
Boston is a great team. We knew they were great in years past, and most everyone expected them to do some damage. But few people expected this. Obviously, a lot has happened since people made their initial East Conference champions predictions. Namely, Derrick Rose’s ACL derailed the Bulls (honorable mention to Joakim Noah, the second best player on that team, who went down with a sprained ankle). Aside from that, how many people actually thought an aging Boston team would be on the verge of sending the ridiculously talented Super Team packing? Not me. Then again, I’m no NBA expert – not by a long shot. (more…)
Now, a defensive prospect isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world. However, Braves fans should be excited about what’s in store when it comes to Simmons. The 22-year-old Curacao native will surely razzle and dazzle with his leather better than any Braves shortstop in club history if his bat can keep up with his talented glove, which will be a must if he wishes to stay in the big leagues. Simmons definetely has age on his side. That means his abilities in the batter’s box will improve in time. And if those skills develop as quickly as his defensive ones have in such a short period of time, Simmons just may be the next Ozzie Smith or Derek Jeter type of player.
At this point, you might be thinking I’m making a huge jump with that prediction and you might be right. However, I have to believe in this guy after what his glove showed us in the Minor Leagues. Instead of struggling as he made his way up the ranks, Simmons’ defense only got better. In just a handful of games at the rookie-league level, he honed a .974 fielding percentage. Once Simmons had a full season of minor league ball under his belt in Single-A Lynchburg, he digressed slightly, securing a .958 fielding percentage, but the best was yet to come. This season, Simmons made waves throughout Atlanta’s organzation and even challenged recently demoted shortstop Tyler Pastornicky for the big league gig as the Braves’ every day shortstop. And although Simmons didn’t win the job, he didn’t stay in the minors for long. Maybe that’s because he was phenomenal in the filed for Double-A Mississippi where committed just four errors in 46 games while holding down a .983 fielding percentage. Can you say big league ready? (more…)
In this week’s episode, regular co-host Craig Paul is back to join Wade McMillin for discussions about unlawful athletes, Tiger Woods’ future, the Stanley Cup Finals and the best NFL trios. Click below to subscribe, download or stream the latest episode of the Couch Side Podcast …
BY ZACK KELBERMAN. Feedcrossing.com syndication
Recently, Chris Johnson graded out as the No. 100 player by NFL Network’s popular segment, “Top 100: Players of 2012.” Considering his paltry 2011 campaign, many thought he wouldn’t make the cut, and the fact that he did drew some criticism.
Whether he is deserving of the ranking is a matter of opinion, though the Titans running back formerly known as ‘CJ2K’ still thinks pretty highly of himself.
“I feel I am still the best back in the league, and I have no problem saying that,” Johnson told the Tennessean, via NFL.com. “None of the active backs have done anything that I have done in the first four years, even though I had a bad year last year. So I still feel like I am the best back in the league.”
That is certainly up for debate. Some guy named Adrian Peterson says “hello,” as does the league’s reigning rushing champ, Maurice Jones-Drew. However, Johnson has totaled more yards than any other back over the last four seasons, and seemed a little peeved that the statistic doesn’t warrant more respect. (more…)
Ok, I’m going to just come out and say it, I can’t take my eyes off of Mike Trout.
It may not be a “man crush” yet, but it sure as heck is getting close to it. But ever since he was rightfully called up to the big leagues on April 27, every Angels game has become must-see (as if it wasn’t already). When he steps into the batting box, I literally stop everything I’m doing waiting to see what he’ll do next.
At the time of his call-up, my Angels were a dreadful 6-14 and coming up drastically short in reaching everyone’s preseason World Series predictions. Albert Pujols was in the midst of the worst stretch of his career at the plate, still homerless 20 games into the season. They were nine games behind their AL West rival Texas Rangers. It was after a 3-2 loss that day to Cleveland that Trout was recalled for his second MLB stint with the hope he would inject some life into the floundering Angels club, no pun intended. (more…)
BY NICK BARTLETT, Feedcrossing.com syndication
The Spurs just lost their first game in the playoffs after winning 20 straight overall and Parker struggled to get anything going at all in Game 3 against the Thunder. Well, let’s remind ourselves how much of a rarity this is. Even in this “terrible” game for Parker he still managed 16 pts on 50% shooting. However, the Spurs were finally outplayed in the postseason and a big reason it took so long has been the steady play of Tony Parker throughout the entire season.
I’ve always loved Parker’s game throughout his career (I always wondered why he was rated so low in all of the 2K games!) and always thought he was right up there with the other elite point guards in the league. After this year and his total performance in the playoffs, it’s time for him to be considered as a top PG in the NBA. (more…)
BY MICHAEL J. SILVA, Feedcrossing.com syndication
Tom Verducci made this statement yesterday to John Feinstein and Bruce Murray during their mid-day show on Mad Dog Radio. I think Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels have done a fabulous job turning around that ballclub, but they should not be discussed in the same breath as one of the best baseball teams of all-time.
The ’98 Yankees weren’t a collection of All-Stars. Although the Yankees have been a payroll team for the better part of the decade, this was not the case during the late nineties dynasty under Joe Torre. The Yanks were actually number two, behind Baltimore, with their $66 million dollar payroll. There were six other teams that were within $10 million dollars of them, as well.
That ’98 team was a collection of homegrown talent, veteran acquisition and component players that thrived in their roles. That group scored 965 runs, which is the tenth highest in franchise history. Offensively, it was on par with the powerful offenses of the late twenties and thirties. Even more impressive was their pitching. They only allowed 656 runs; on par with the top staffs in the National League despite having to deal with the Designated Hitter. This current Rangers group is on par with that production, but in the depressed post-steriods era. The Yankees output was amazing due to the explosion of offense we saw that season. (more…)