College Basketball

Where have all the elite guards gone? The source of college basketball mediocrity

by: (Anthony Denmark 02.14.2013 @eatdrkslpsprtz2)

2912 nba rookie classAfter weeks of looking for the source of parody and the absence of elite teams in college basketball I have finally found the source.  The players who would have provided a boost of excitement and highlight to a mediocre college basketball season are getting splinters on NBA benches collecting checks and DNPs.  In the 2012 NBA Draft 56 underclass declared and only 22 were fortunate enough to be selected in the first round.  While some rookies have experienced high levels of success like top pick Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets and point guard Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers regretfully nearly half of them are contributing very little to their NBA franchises.

Last year the college game was decimated when several promising guards prematurely declared for the 2012 NBA Draft in their quest for the millions. Guards such as Kendallmarquis teague on bench Marshall (Phoenix Suns),Austin Rivers (New Orleans Hornets), Marquis Teague(Chicago Bulls), Jared Cunningham (Dallas Mavericks), Tony Wroten (Memphis Grizzles) would have garnered All-American honors, improved draft stock while also altering the fortune of their college teams who have struggled to fill their void.

austin rivers game winnerAs rivalry week  continues I ask  college basketball fans and hoops loyalist to imagine how different fortune of their favorite teams would be had these guards chose to return to school and log major minutes instead of collecting DNP on a NBA bench. Although no player will ever be bigger than college basketball rivalry but the inclusion of great guard play in these games are truly what make these rivalries must watch television.

kendall marshallDuring rivalry week I am certain that these former college stars find themselves having second thoughts about their decision to go pro. When one of the favorites for the Naismith Player of the Year Award is Michigan Wolverine point guard Trey Burke who was an after-thought when compared to the guards who declared for the draft last year speaks volumes about the state of the college game and how vital a guard is to building a title contender. As the season of parody continues the players who declared and the fans will all wonder what if. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrkslpsprtz2)

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

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

by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrkslpsprtz2 01.24.2013)

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

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

by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrkslpsprtz2 12.10.2012)

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 & nat’l championships.

However, only a few miles away another Hall-of-Fame coach was slowly building an elite program by developing final four cardstalent 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 Cardinalnot 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

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

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

by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrkslpsprtz2 12.05.2012)

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 blueformer 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 fewwildcats 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 (@eatdrkslpsprtz2)

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

College Basketball: Although the nets are cut down in April the road to the Final 4 in Atlanta begins now

by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrkslpsprtz2 10.27.2012)

We are halfway through the college football season and several fans have turned their attention to their basketball programs accepting the harsh reality that a bowl game is not in their school’s future. Traditional basketball powers like Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina opened Midnight Madness and the start of their first official practices with a big bang. The fan bases from these four programs and many others from across the nation believe that this will be their year to cut down the nets and win a National Championship.

Last season we were treated to memorable buzzer beaters at Duke and Indiana; NCAA investigations and scandals at Syracuse and Louisville; the ending of an era in Connecticut with the retirement of Coach Jim Calhoun; and Anthony ‘uni-brow’ Davis leading Kentucky and a band of future pros to the school’s eighth national title.

Although last year’s season ended with a bang this upcoming season promises to be one that will be nothing short of exciting. Out west once proud programs UNLV and UCLA have assembled their fair share of diaper dandies and college transfers in an attempt to reclaim their dominant ways out west. Despite the potential of both of these programs they both enter the off-season with a ton of question marks.  At UNLV chemistry and the pressure of heightened expectations will be two factors to watch as Coach Rice attempts to build a solid rotation and find minutes for a deep frontcourt.

At UCLA Ben Howland seat has truly begin to warm so the pressure to produce on the court could not be higher. However,the three freshmen one and doners Shabazz Muhammad, Tony Parker, and Kyle Anderson who were expected to return the Bruins to glory are all currently under investigation by the NCAA for improper benefits. To make matters talented but overweight Josh Smith continues to lose his fight with hamburgers leading to an ever-expanding waistline. Too make matters even worse in Westwood, Muhammad who is the same freshman under investigation also injured his shoulder and he may not be expected to return until mid-season.

In the Midwest Kansas promises to be a tough out despite the loses in the back court of Tyshawn Taylor. Ben McLemore has made raves during the summer camp circuits and is expected to team with center Jeff Withey to help Coach Bill Self contend for yet another Big XII Championship.

Although football may still be king in Big X country this year their best chance to capture a national title may lay in Bloomington, Indiana who have been voted preseason number one. Led by presumed number pick in next year’s draft Cody Zeller. Coach Tom Crean has finally assembled a team that can bring a national championship banner back to Hoosier nation, the land of Larry Bird and the infamous movie Hoosiers.  However winning the Big X certainly will not be a cakewalk with a resurgent Michigan team in Ann Arbor & the Hall-of-famer in East Lansing.

Reigning NCAA champ, Kentucky Wildcats lose six draft picks from last year’s team but expectations for another title has not be reduced. Coach Calipari has done a masterful job of recruiting replacing lottery picks with future lottery picks and the same is true this year: Nerlean Noel, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, and NC State transfer Ryan Harrow promise to make their debut season a treat for both NBA scouts and Big Blue Nation.

In the ACC the most unlikeliest teams on Tobacco Road has been deemed the preseason favorite, and it’s not Duke or UNC. Led by Coach Mark Gottfried the NC State Wolf pack have had a quick turn around and with the addition of McDonald’s All-American Purvis who was just cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse they promise to be a tough out during tournament time.

As the Maui Tournament and the Coaches v. Cancer Tournament quickly approaches and gives fans the non conference games fans dream of during the Thanksgiving Holiday know the March Madness and all the excitement that ensues is not too far behind. However, whose being fitted for their MARCH glass slipper? Which senior will arise from the smoke of oblivion? Which freshman will get ensnared in the NCAA’s grasp? This college basketball season promises to be a good one. 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

Do I Stay or Do I Go?: Lessons Learned from NBA Draft Night 2012 #highrisklowreward

by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrnkslpsprtz 07.01.2012)

In gyms and basketball courts all over the world young boys envision themselves as their favorite NBA player nailing a buzzer beater and winning a NBA Championship. Last night there were 30 young men whose dreams finally became a reality when they heard their names called in the first round and had the opportunity to shake the hand of NBA Commissioner, David Stern. For many of these young men the opportunity of playing in the NBA was their ticket out of low-income housing and into a life of luxury fulfilling the promise of early retirement for their mothers. And also providing their families with cars and homes as a show of their appreciation for the many sacrifices that was made for them.

After the Kentucky Wildcats were crowned as the 2012 National Champion, 49 underclassmen forfeited their college eligibility to declare for the NBA Draft.This list of underclassmen consisted of those destined for stardom, upperclassmen who may have waited one year too many, as well as a few head scratchers who had little chance of being drafted at all.

Although these 49 underclassmen will probably never attend a college class again, each of them was taught a few hard life lessons on Thursday night:

  • Lesson 1: The more you play the further you drop

Each year the top players in college basketball are faced with the tough decision to either play another year or go pro, those who decide to stay another year are praised by their coaches for their unselfishness and team first mentality. However, last night several of these rising sophomores lost millions of dollars after being selected later in the NBA Draft than they were projected the previous year. For example Harrison Barnes was projected to be a top two pick in last years draft but was not selected until the seventh pick by the Golden State Warriors. Although general onlooker would not consider this to be much of a drop off, financially it was a difference of nearly seven million dollars. Harrison Barnes was still fortunate to be selected in the first round because there were a few players projected to be top fifteen picks last year who fell out of the first round entirely.

  • Lesson 2: Get a physical before you declare, avoid red flags like you avoid fouls

Last night several young men dropped in the draft due to their failure to address injury issues before the NBADraft Combine. Unfortunately, the agents for these young men failed them miserably, the flags discovered by team physicians could have been avoided completely. Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones III were both top ten talents that could have opted for surgery to address their ailments which may have prevented their free fall from the lottery to the back-end of the first round.

Royce White and his agent handled this situation remarkably, by using the 4 months before the draft combine to address his anxiety disorder and his fear of flying. They were rewarded for being proactive, this talented forward from Iowa State was selected in lottery by the Houston Rocket, way to go Royce White!

In closing, to all the young men aspiring of playing in the NBA I encourage you to trust no one: not your coaches, not your friends, and definitely not your agent. Each one is driven by their own ambitions of either getting another coaching extension or maximizing their profit margins.

Too the thousands of young boys striving to relief their family of the hardships of working double and triple shifts I remind you that shaking David Stern’s hand and being selected in the NBA Draft does not determine quality of life, you do. Less than 2% percent of the boys with this dream will achieve it, for the other 98% they will be tortured by the unknown, never forgetting the many opportunities lost in their quest to fulfill their dream of guarding Kobe Bryant or taking a charge from Dwight Howard. Stay tuned… I know I will. – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)

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

So You Think You Are Ready to go Pro: A letter to the aspiring NBA players of 2012

by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrnkslpsprtz 04.10.2012)

As the deadline for college basketball underclassmen to declare for the NBA Draft approaches (April 29th) it is important that these aspiring NBA athletes consider the following:

1. What are your plans if you make the league?

2. Will you return to school and earn your degree?

3. Will you soil your royal oats and have potential mates sign a prenup?

4. Will you pay your taxes?

After reviewing these questions you would be wrong to presume that I am advocating for college basketball players to stay more than one year because that is certainly not the case. If a young man can serve his country in the military at 18 he should be extended the opportunity to play professionally in the NBA at the same age. However, to all my aspiring athletes who dream of donning an NBA jersey and shaking the hand of David Stern it is critical that you have a plan. To avoid slipping through the cracks an answer to my four questions are needed in order to ensure that you are not mentioned as reasons why a player should NOT leave school early and enter the NBA Draft (i.e. Sebastian Telfair, Hasheem Thabeet and Dajuan Wagner)

My first suggestion is to avoid the euphoria of I Think I Made It Syndrome and foolishly spend your new riches on meaningless depreciable assets such as jewelry and an assortment of luxury cars. Far too many athletes have made this mistake and have found themselves bankrupt and homeless. After grossing nearly $200 million dollars over a ten-year career Allen Iverson has nothing to show for it due to deplorable spending habits and he is now forced to play for pennies in a B-league in Venezuela.

Next word of advice is invest your money in reputable businesses and franchises, please avoid hiring family members and friends at all cost. Like in the movie He Got Game, avoid the leeches at all cost or they will suck you dry. If you are unsure of what your plans are after playing professionally go back to college and earn your degree. If you have a plan be proactive and put it into action, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson wisely invested their money and now they both own NBA and MLB franchises.

Another important thing to avoid is the Shawn Kemp epidemic that nearly all pro athletes fall victim too. Shawn Kemp was once a promising player in the NBA that ate and sexed his way out of the NBA and a possible hall of fame induction. While in the prime of his career Shawn Kemp had 7 kids by 7 different women in ONE YEAR and had to request advances from the Seattle Supersonics in order to keep up with his child support payments and avoid imprisonment. Fed up with his ever-growing waistline, diminishing skill, and questionable personal choices the Rainmaker was cut and never reached his full potential despite many looks from other teams. News flash gentleman, your time in the NBA is short but the young lives that you create are forever and providing them with a sustainable life is a must. Please avoid being like Dennis Rodman, a Hall-of-Fame player who is broke, addicted to drugs, and behind by over 200k on his child support payments

Last and certainly not least please Pay your Taxes and entrust your money to a reputable bank or investment firm to avoid the evil of the IRS. For some strange reason athletes mistakenly believe that they are immune from IRS and therefore do not have to pay taxes. Although Wilt Chamberlin will forever be remembered for scoring 100 points in a game, lets also remember that he spent his last days broke and bankrupt.

In closing, aspiring athletes sign on the dotted line of your prospective agents contract only if you are truly ready for the long journey ahead, getting into the NBA is only the beginning. But securing a life once you leave the game is what will matter most of all in the end. – A.Denmark (@Eatdrnkslpsprtz)

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

Eatdrnkslpsprtz Thursday Night Sweet 16 Primer: Project Runway Meets NCAA!!

by: Anthony Denmark @eatdrnkslpsprtz 03.23.2012)

NCAA Sweet Sixteen Thursday Night Primer

Any other year the momentum of the final four would have been headline news, however because of NFL free agency and the Saints getting the death penalty the Sweet Sixteen has been nearly forgotten. In a mood to see individuals lay it on the line and go after loose balls like it’s their last? Then you are in luck, because the games on Thursday will not include many potential lottery picks, but teams that will play fundamental basketball and play with a lot of effort and tenacity. Too my ladies looking for a reason to watch the game, let me tell you this one secret, the more you know about sports the more you can get a man to do. So here is a quick rundown of Thursday’s Games and the reason why you should tune in:

Marquette v. Florida

Why watch Florida Gators: Florida relies heavily on the three-point shot and they frequently run the floor with four guards. Although the Gators will shoot threes a plenty, if they want to win this game they must win the battle on the boards, they cannot get out toughed. I wonder how many Tebow posters will be on display tonight.

Why watch Marquette: For my walk the runway all-stars avid watchers, you certainly are in for a treat when you see Coach Buzz Williams tie and shirt combination. The players for this team have taken on the toughness of their head coach, although they are not as talented as many teams they win a high percentage of games because of their pressure defense and relentless effort on the boards. Marquette must avoid getting into early foul trouble and win the rebounding battle in order to minimize the threat of the Gators three barrage

My Pick – Marquette wins because defense not only wins championship but games as well. Marquette will out-tough the Gators and bully them into submission

Wisconsin v. Syracuse

Why watch Syracuse Orangemen: The Orangemen has had to overcome a number of distractions this year, from the allegation of sexual harassment by their former assistant coach, rumors of ineligible players failing drug tests, and losing their inside force in Fab Melo due to academics. Despite these distractions the team has remained focused and continued to flourish. In an effort to make the game more entertaining test your spelling by trying to correctly spell some of the players on the Orangemen bench. In addition to giving them incredible athletic ability their parents truly did not lack in the creativity department when selecting a name for their sons.

Why watch Wisconsin: Each year the Badgers are underrated and rarely get much mention by college experts during the preseason. However, once tournament time arrives the Badgers always find themselves in the thick of things. Although very few of Bo Ryan’s players will have a pro career after graduating, the effort and skill that they demonstrate on the court is truly remarkable. They are led by their point guard who rarely makes mistakes and always makes the right pass to get his teammates into the flow of the game

My Pick – Syracuse wins, although the game will not feature many Sportscenter highlights Syracuse’s depth will be too much for the Badgers to handle and fatigue will set in by the second half

Michigan State v. Louisville

Why watch Michigan State: There was time when the players stayed four years and fans was able to watch a young man’s game mature and develop, Draymond Green is that rare commodity. Although an undersized forward with limited pro potential his game reminds you of Shane Battier from the Duke Blue Devils. It is truly entertaining to watch this four-man lead the break because he is a true match up nightmare. In addition, it always amazing to see Coach Izzo comfort his players and press the right buttons to get maximum effort. Your at least guarantee a Magic Johnson sighting, showtime!!

Why watch Louisville: The Cardinals lead point guard Peyton Silva is a one man fast break that can single-handedly take over a game and impact it on both ends of the floor. It will be intriguing to see how the young freshman forward Dieng plays when matched up against All-American Green. Another reason to watch is to see if Coach Pitino rocks the white suit, you’re not supposed to wear white after labor day right?

My pick – Michigan State wins in a close one due to the clutch play of Michigan State’s All-American  Draymond Green who has been posting amazing numbers during the tournament – A.Denmark (@Eatdrnkslpsprtz)

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

Retire a hero, or coach long enough to see yourself become the villian

by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrnkslpsprtz 02.28.2012)

After watching Jeremy Lin go 1-11 with 6 turnovers I had no interest in watching any more basketball. In my quest to find cinematic enjoyment I found myself watching ‘The Dark Knight” with Health Ledger, may he rest in peace. While watching the film the villain 2-face said the following quote  which made me think:

“Either you die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”
Illinois basketball Coach Bruce Weber has witnessed the applause and praise become something far less desirable. The pundits have forgotten how he resurrected the basketball program and nearly led them to the National Championship with Dee Brown, Deron Williams and Luther Head. As the days to Coach Weber’s imminent firing approaches at season’s end, I am reminded that this has been the fate of several coaches and great players; it is the consequence of over staying your welcome and not knowing the right time to leave…

In Bloomington, Indiana was home to sport royalty and a coaching innovator that was praised for his intellect and high basketball IQ. Each year Coach Bobby Knight had his Hoosiers in contention for the National Championship due to his ability to bring great players like Isiah Thomas and Calbert Cheaney to leave their urban jungles and call the Hoosier state home. Coach Knight continued to collect wins and build championship caliber teams each year, and despite his well-known temper everyone turned a blind eye as long as the rafters continued to read “FINAL FOUR” or “ELITE EIGHT”. However, the once glorified coach was unable to keep up with the  new landscape of college basketball and those cheers of praise become glares of resentment toward an old-timer who refused to recruit and was no longer able to mount the banners he once did in years past. A coach that was once glorified and given the key to city of Bloomington was fired after nearly a decade of his young men graduating and getting their degrees but Coach Knight no longer posted the winning records he once did. Coach Knight’s antics at that time were no longer tolerable and were now considered grounds for termination due too fewer McDonald’s All-Americans signing Letters of Intent with the Hoosiers of Indiana and no new banners hanging from the rafters.

This year, another icon suffered the same fate and he resided in Happy Valley, the winningest coach in college football history the Great Joe Paterno. For nearly five decades he was the face of Penn State, the infamous coke bottle glasses accompanied with the rolled up slacks and white socks. The endless miles he walked up and down a sideline will forever be unmatched by anyone who aspires to coach this game we call football. However, only two weeks after being praised and cheered in a packed press room for reaching the 400 wins milestone those cheers quickly became words of condemnation that led to his termination as coach of the Penn State football team. For years, fans and spectators wondered when this icon was going to hang it up, several thought after the Orange Bowl when he beat his good friend Bobby Bowden and the Florida State Seminoles in 2006. Such an exit would have made him retire a hero, however Joe Pa chose otherwise and is now must face the consequence of his actions. And will be remembered not for the thousands of lives he changed but how he negatively impacted the lives of little boys he never even knew by saying nothing.

Life is filled with several more examples such the aforementioned Bobby Bowden being ‘fired’ from the university he helped erect or Jerry Rice & Joe Montana being released by the 49ers organization that they sacrificed their bodies to win 2 Super Bowl rings for. It appears that becoming the villain is a mask that we are all capable of adorning no matter the good deeds or sacrifices that we have made at some point in our life. The question is will you choose your exit? Or will you be escorted to that exit by security and  shown the door? Our fate is our own and in the end we may not choose how we are remembered.    – A.Denmark (@EatDrnkSlpSprtz)

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

The elite two (Syracuse & UK) & the Mediocre twenty-three!!

by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrnkslpsprtz 02.21.2012)

This 2012 college basketball season consists of two elite teams, Syracuse & Kentucky and then everyone else. The other 23 teams that make up the rest of the top twenty-five have serious flaws and very little distinguishes any of those mediocre indistinguishable twenty-three. Although  upset are what makes college basketball both memorable and exciting the performances of traditional powerhouses this season have been downright absurd. Tradition rich programs such as Kansas, Duke and UNC have caught the bug of mediocrity despite their rosters being filled with McDonald’s and Jordan All Americans.

Unable to change the channel any longer I found myself watching college basketball and it soon dawned on me that outside of Syracuse and Kentucky the remaining field of teams is absolutely mediocre and downright sub par in some instances. There was a time when all of the major conferences had teams that could cut down the nets in April. No longer is there a dominant team out west, once proud programs like UCLA and Arizona with Championship and Final Four banners decorating the rafters have failed to sustain basketball excellence,suffering embarrassing losses on their home floor at the hands a Loyola Maramount and Middle Tennessee State.

The remaining power conferences have not  been immune from this bug of mediocrity either. In the Big East, UConn and Pittsburgh have failed to produce despite the four and five-star recruits that sit on the bench. A conference that was known as a basketball power has been absolutely putrid to stomach, outside of Syracuse, Marquette, and Notre Dame it appears that effort is not being taught to the other teams in the Big East, a conference that was once praised for its tradition and excellence.

In the SEC it does not seem to be a point to even have a SEC tournament, the Kentucky Wildcats stranglehold on the conference continues for yet another year. The Wildcats remain undefeated in SEC play and it is likely that they will finish the season will that unblemished  record intact. It is projected that the SEC will only produce four tournament teams this year (Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi State.

Although the Big 12 and ACC has been more competitive than years past each of conference seems to not have an elite team that will challenge for the National Championship. Before anyone shouts, UNC I will happily remind you of the butt whopping they received at the hands of FSU And before any Cameron Crazies goes crazy I will refresh your memory by mentioning their loss to Miami. Oh, and the Big Ten does not warrant being mentioned: Ohio State has Jared Sullinger and his bad back; Michigan, has no bench, and Michigan State, not enough talent.

March is steadily approaching and it is certainly gonna be one to remember, there will be more than one glass slipper this year, ladies and gentlemen Butler was only the beginning. Teams such as Murray State and Temple will have their dancing shoes ready amped to make a statement and secure their place in NCAA March Madness Infamy. – A.Denmark (@Eatdrnkslpsprtz)

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


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s