The Future: Wiggins, Parker, and Randle oh my!!

Jabari Parker Julius Randle Andrew WigginsIn sports there are certain athletes who have the ability to standout without breaking a sweat. We have witnessed it with Yusiel Puig in the MLB; Calvin Johnson Megatron in the NFL; and Johnny Football Manziel in college football. Last night in their national debut Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle joined this elite company.

Although we have witnessed phenoms before, we have never be fortunate to see three of them on the same night on the same court. Their teams clearly have room to grow, but what is really scary is that with these stars the best is still yet to come.

Despite being a freshman Julius Bulldog Randle is clearly the leader of the Kentucky Wildcats squad. The Michigan State Spartans may have beat the Wildcats last night, if they meet again in March the outcome will likely be completely different. The Wildcats julius randle and john calipariteased everyone with their talent while also reminding us of their youth. However, as is the case with all John Calipari coached teams, their team will only go as far as the point guard takes them. Will Aaron Harrison conquer his turnover demons and run what Calipari calls? Time will tell.

Jabari Parker aka Lil Melo endless scoring arsenal will be relied upon heavily for the Duke Blue Devils. Although Coach K has a collection of former McDonald All Americans the NCAA tournament fate will be determined largely by Parker, whose team cannot afford for him to foul out. Sophomore guard Rasheed Sulaimon was able to carry the Devils for stretches but Parker is the only one who can get his on shot.

parker and wigginsAndrew Wiggins silenced doubters in his debut showcasing his jaw dropping athleticism and versatility. Despite appearing bored at times, but when the game comes so easy to do you blame him. Although Wiggins has garnered most of the attention and hype, Wayne Shelden is a best in his own right that is destined to sit in the green room with Wiggins and shake the hand of the NBA Commissioner.

Last night was truly exceptional, its not often that a 33 point scoring night by Lebron James gets buried in the back pages but the national debut of Parker, Wiggins, andjabari parker Randle was certainly an exception. One game down, the nation is watching to see what they will do for an encore? Let the tanking begin! Stay tuned… I know I will.

College Basketball: A year of uncertainty – Title contenders missing and unaccounted for

cbb top 25Once upon a time in a land far away the landscape of college basketball was not as it is now. In those days teams that were ranked in the top five were actually elite programs due to their talent and not simply due to the names on the front of their jersey. Not long ago NBA-talent was the ultimate game changer that made the gap between traditional programs like Kentucky, UNC, Arizona and Duke were significant.

butler beats iuHowever, due to players leaving early for the NBA Draft these traditionally dominant teams now find themselves among the land of the average fighting for relevance in 2013. A new emphasis on coaching and player development has led to the ascension of programs like Butler, Oregon, Michigan, and Florida. Unable to land the premiere high school recruits these teams have found diamonds in the rough and built a team that has the viable pieces in place to make a legitimate title run.

Although the teams mentioned are not unknowns they have often taken second fiddlemiami beats duke to their more well-known bitter in-state or conference rivals (Kentucky, Michigan State, Arizona, and Indiana). The gap between these so-called premiere programs has closed and each week we have been given indicators of that fact: Duke losing by 30 to Miami; Butler upset Indiana; Kentucky losing by 12 to Texas A&M.

oregon beats arizonaThe lack of elite programs in 2013 brings both a level of uncertainty and excitement to this season. The top 25 rankings goes through a drastic makeover from week to week louisville beat kydue to the endless number of upsets. With March Madness little more than a month away 11 teams from the pre-season top 25 are not even ranked anymore, 5 teams have been ranked number 1, and the Kentucky Wildcats may make history by winning a NCAA title one year and missing the tournament all together the following year.

Despite the disappointing start of the traditional powers the start of conference play gives hopes that talk of the demise of their college basketball season was premature. As March Madness grows near the pressure will continue to mount for Florida, Butler, Oregon, and Michigan to sustain their current standard of excellence.

Next week Michigan will debut as the number one team in the country how they respond michigan basketballwill determine if they are truly ready for the limelight. Stay tuned…I know I will – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

Brent Musburger strikes again – Add Holly Rowe to Musburgers on air list of hotties

Brent Musburger makes headlines again  for adding another woman to his ever-growing list of hot women during his coverage of last night’s college basketball snoozer between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Baylor Bears.

After so many years of great commentary one begins to wonder if Musburgers sharpness has begun to fade and he has now assumed the role of the uncensored horny uncle that every family has. Due to his lack of censorship it would not be aBrent Musburger at it again surprise if ESPN begins to reduce his own air duties because when the games are blowouts Musburger runs out of things to say and just turns to the one thing he knows better than commentary, women. Too the surprise of many the old guy continues to get the same pass that every uncle across America gets, the same pass that gives them the freedom to look and say just about anything without fear of being smacked or cursed out.

Holly Rowe ESPNHowever, after single-handed launching the career of Miss Alabama Katherine Webb with his comments in the BCS National Championship game the old buzzard strikes again calling ESPN side line reporter Holly Rowe ‘smoking hot’ during last night’s telecast. It’s unlikely that his comments will get Holly Rowe a spread in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition or boost her twitter followers by 100,000 like it did Miss Alabama. How ESPN responds to Musburgers latest on air flirtation is unknown? But his latest comments makes one wonder if he says this on the air no telling what he does in public. At this point Musburger is teetering on being accused of sexual harassment with celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred standing next to a hot pretty blonde client.

Gloria AllredRegardless of what ESPN does Musburger will continue to remind us of the old uncle that every family has – unedited and uncensored. Despite the college basketball season being a snoozer with Musburger covering the game there will not be a boring moment. Stay tuned…I know I will. – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

Road2Final4: Louisville Cardinals, second in the state but favorite to win NCAA title #louisvillecardinals

The state of Kentucky is home to one of the most heated rivalries in the country, longtime friends and familyhouse divided members often do not speak when the Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals battle for state supremacy. Since Coach Calipari’s arrival to the Bluegrass State the Wildcats have dominated the rivalry, attracted the nation’s top recruits, and won conference and national championships.

However, only a few miles away another Hall-of-Fame coach was slowly building an elite program by developing final four cards talent with diamond in the roughs who did not appear destined to shake the hands of Commissioner Stern after playing one year of college basketball. The talent that Rick Pitino has assembled in Louisville finally looks ready to not only to regain state supremacy but also bring another national championship back to the state of Kentucky.

The Cardinals are led by senior point guard Peyton Silva and slasher Russ Smith silvawho each spent the summer improving their games and ignored the lure of the NBA Draft. Silva was once known just for his scoring but each year he has continued to refine his skills by getting his teammates the ball.  Not known to see a shot he did not like Russ nicknamed ‘Russ-diculous’ by Coach Pitino has finally begun to play within the offense and seldom goes rogue unless a scoring punch is needed (scoring a career-high 31 points against UMKC.)

The frontcourt is led by Gorgui Dieng an import from Sudan who brings a defensive presence to the Cardinal not in my housefrontcourt that makes opponents think twice before coming into the lane. His partner in crime Chane Behannan who despite being an undersized forward is a monster on the boards who has finally shook the injury bug that plagued him last year.

Pitino appears to have the pieces in place to make some noise in March, there is very little drop off from the second unit who are led by sophomore guard Wayne Blackshear and two former Parade All-Americans, sophomore guard Kevin Ware and former Virginia Tech commit forward Montrezl Harrell.

card swagExpectations in Louisville could not be higher and although the Cards have lost their defensive intimidator in Gorgui Dieng to a broken wrist until December 19th their play in his absence has truly been impressive. Coach Pitino has used the absence of his defensive stopper as an opportunity to build depth and get minutes for his talented but inexperienced big men who he will need come tournament time.

Although it has taken Pitino longer than expected to build another title contender armed with the experience from last year’s final four run the time to crown a new king of Kentucky may be fastcard big east champs approaching. The Cardinals have the senior leadership and the talent to contend, but will they finally win when it counts? The battle for Kentucky on December 29th will determine more than just a ‘W,’ but bragging rights, recruits, and maaybe even a number seed in the tournament. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

Road2Final Four:Kentucky Wildcats, unranked today, title tomorrow?? #bbn

For the first time during his tenure at Kentucky, Coach Calipari and his band of diaper dandies find themselves in unknown territory. unranked and exposed. For the first time his band of freshman are not playing future lottery picks in next year’s draft. Despite their exceptional size in the front court with supposed defensive ace Nerlens Noel and the 7-footer Willie-Cauley Stein. Although each of these ballyhooed freshman have yet to live up to the hype of their predecessors the poor play of the guards has been hard to stomach.

Entering into the season point guard Ryan Harrow was expected to take the reins left by first round pickwildcats2013 Marquis Teague. In addition to making questionable decisions on the court his current undisclosed illness has forced Calipari to lean heavily on freshman scorer Archie Goodwin to play out of position and run the point and former walk-on Jarrod Polson also being a surprise contributor off the bench.

Although titles were never won or lost in December the inconsistent play of Calipari’s future one-and-doners may pose a huge problem if his diaper dandies fail to live up to expectations. The draft stock of Nerlens Noel and his freshman counterparts continue to plummet harrison twinsand if things do not change Coach Calipari will be facing a significant number crunch next season. Next year the Wildcats already have another number one recruiting class waiting in the wings, the Harrison twins and two premiere forwards. Since coming to Lexington a minimum of three underclassmen have left each year which left room for his next collection of 5 stars.

At this rate Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin are the only two wildcats projected to go in the first round, and the more Nerlens gets exposed the further his stock continues to plummet. For the past four years big blue former wildcat guardsnation has grown accustomed to elite guard play and trips to the Final Four. The point guards who led those Wildcats were truly exceptional and all of them have made major contributions at the NBA level (Brandon Knight, John Wall, Marquis Teague, and Eric Bledsoe). Despite have another number one recruiting class the lack of elite pg in this current class is the true source of the Wildcats problems.

As the season progresses the Wildcats will improve because getting worst is far from possible. However, a few wildcats loserealities must be accepted: Nerlens Noel will not ever be Anthony Davis and the Wildcats will only go as far as Archie Goodwin takes them. Talent alone has never won a title, how Coach Calipari and his Wildcats respond to adversity will determine how far they go in the NCAA tournament. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

As the ACC turns – Louisville and Charlie Strong, the key to BCS football relevance #accrealignment

Although the ACC’s relevance in football continues to decline the addition of Louisville may make the conference’s football pallbearers Florida State and Clemson reconsider packing their bags and delay their dreams of greener pastures in the Big XII or Pac XII.

The addition of Louisville means that another talented coach with a proven record of success joins the fold improving the level of coaching in the ACC significantly. The momentum of the Louisville football program continues to head in a positive direction and the dismal performances of past all but seem like distant memories.

A consequence of Charlie Strong’s success in Louisville has made him a candidate for a number of prominent SEC head coaching vacancies (Auburn, Arkansas, and Tennessee). The athletic director has publicly stated his desire to retain Strong and make Strong the highest paid coach in college football. Efforts to fulfill such a promise made by Louisville will not only impact their program but also ultimately determine the fate of the ACC conference.

If the Cardinals fail to retain Charlie Strong it will be a forgone conclusion that Florida State and Clemson will jump ship and head to the Big XII.  The frustration of coaches in the conference has already reached its boiling point and the addition of Louisville is a last-ditch effort to prevent current ACC coaches from taking other jobs and deter other teams exploring alternative conference options.

The head coaching vacancies in the SEC will ultimately determine the fate of the ACC conference. Rumors are rampant that three current ACC head coaches may be roaming the sidelines in greener pastures next year – Miami Head Coach Al Golden (BC, UT);FSU Head Coach Jimbo Fisher (Auburn, UT, and Arkansas); and Louisville Head Coach Charlie Strong (Arkansas, Auburn, and UT).

While awaiting its dismal football fate the ACC will attempt to excite their fan bases with their elite basketball programs.The quality of head coaching that will roam hardwood in 2014 will be unrivaled by any conference in the nation. Just for a moment imagine the new rivalries that will form with the addition of Syracuse and Louisville to the ACC. Basketball fans will be treated to match ups between hall of fame coaches like Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, Roy Williams of UNC, and Rick Pitino of Louisville.

The excitement of these potential match-ups on the hoops hardwood promises to be ‘awesome with a capital A’ Although the conference may fail to produce a BCS National Championship in football the banners and nets the conference may collect by reaching the Final Four and winning National Championships in basketball may be a consolation prize fans may have to live with. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

Colorado and Washington legalize marijuana – How will the NCAA, NFL, NBA, and MLB respond? #election2012

On Tuesday approximately 114 million Americans exercised their fundamental right to vote but in addition to selecting our next Commander-in-Chief in several states Americans were left to decide on an issue that may be of great interest to the NCAA, NFL, NBA, MLB and other professional sports franchises played in the United States. The issue that I am speaking of is the use of marijuana which was legalized for recreational use in Colorado and Washington. Both of these states are home to the BIG 3 in pro sports as well as college programs with ties to the BCS.

Each of the three major sports industries have stiff penalties for their players if they test positive for using banned and or illegal substances.The NCAA also has issued stiff penalties to its players for testing positive and being found with a banned substance in their possession. A number of players with promising professional careers have found themselves dismissed from their schools and out of the league due to their addiction to marijuana. However the legalization of marijuana poses an interesting dilemma for the universities and sports franchises in these two states.

In light of this new law will these billion dollar sports franchises make the necessary changes and align with these new laws? Although it is unlikely that these professional sports leagues would ever make a state by state exception the thought of a player being suspended or dismissed from a college for smoking marijuana in a state where its legal would open a petrie dish of problems that no commissioner would want to deal with. I can already envision the NFL or MLB players associations challenging such suspensions causing a media frenzy of momentous proportion.

The struggles of students with promising professional futures has been well documented and frequently made headline news: Tyrann Mathieu of LSU, Da’Rick Rogers of UT, Greg Reid of Florida State, Michael Dyer of Auburn, Isiah Crowell of UGA. These talented players seemed destined to shake the hand of the commissioner after being drafted in the NFL but due to their addiction to marijuana a pro career for some of them already appears highly unlikely.

In the world of recruiting where coaches are always trying to get an edge I wonder in the states where the use of marijuana is legal will recruiters use this to their advantage to get 5 star players to sign with their schools? Although many would consider such a ploy to be unethical some may consider it no worst than giving the prospect money or buying their family a house. The world of recruiting is a ruthless business where nice guys always finish last so any advantage is always maximized. However, such a recruiting ploy would require these institutions of higher learning and the NCAA to revise drug testing policies.

At the moment the legalization of marijuana for recreational use is a problem that the sports industries and the NCAA can ignore but if more states begin to change their policies the time may come where the world of sports would be forced to follow suit. Two dominoes fell on election night and I am sure that the NCAA, NFL, NBA, and MLB took notice. Will the other 48 eventually follow suit? In the realm of sports there will never be a boring moment. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (like my fan page on facebook @Eat Drink Sleep Sportz)