Friday, April 4, 2008

Did anyone really NOT expect this?

The Indianapolis Star reported this morning that IU star Eric Gordon will enter the NBA draft. Their sources were unidentified, but the story indicated IU will distribute information about the upcoming announcement today.

Maybe I held out a little hope that Gordon would stick around for another year, if for no other reason because he fizzled toward the end of the season. The injury to his left hand really affected him, and by extension, the team.

I also thought Gordon had some issues he needed to work on that would make him a better pro. He really had a tendency to commit way too many turnovers. Many of them killed scoring bursts and some came when IU was trying to get back into a game. He averaged 3.6 turnovers a game, by far the worst on the team. That was more than 26 percent of the per game turnover average for the entire team.

But the scoring was impressive, at 20.9 points per game, including almost 34 percent from 3-point range. And the 83-percent free-throw shooting also helped down the stretch.

Gordon deserved first-team all Big Ten and freshman of the year honors. But I think if he took another year and dominated college basketball, his draft stock would rise even more. And who knows what Tom Crean could do with him back.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tom Crean takes over

Tom Crean, sporting a "Crean and Crimson" T-shirt, took over as IU basketball coach yesterday. He said the reason he left Marquette was because "It's Indiana." Apparently the name on the door still means something in a lot of coaching circles, even though the Hoosiers' post-season record over the last decade has been less than stellar.
Press conference photos are here.

There was an interesting story in the IDS, linked to its basketball blog, about Jamarcus Ellis and Armon Bassett, who were dismissed by now former coach Dan Dakich. Ellis said he quit the team and wanted to get his academics in order. He also said the two didn't see eye-to-eye with Dakich on some issues. He told the IDS, while playing a pick-up game at the HPER, he hoped to return to the team.

We'll see if that happens. Media reports about Crean's meeting with the team indicate the two were not invited.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Finally, a defender gets the radio

The NFL decided at its owners' meetings today that a defender will get a radio speaker in his helmet beginning next season.

The rule allows the defense to have one player on the field with a radio link to the coaches, similar to the quarterback on offense. Only one player on the field can have the defensive radio link and no more than two defensive players can have the radio total.

I blogged about this issue earlier on Lake Affected.

The defensive substitution issue came up again, but I don't see it as a big deal. I'm sure there are defensive players that are on the field all the time that can have the radio and call the plays. And if there is a substitution, make the defensive call the old-fashioned way. The offense has the same problem if they substitute.

If Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger came off the field because (now former) receiver Antawn Randle El was going to play quarterback on a gadget play, then someone else had to get the play signed in to the huddle. It didn't happen often, and I think defenses will find their trend is the same.

The important thing is the temptation for teams to steal defensive signals has been all but eliminated.

A new regime and a new team, too?

IU will announce tomorrow Marquette coach Tom Crean is its new coach, according to, he likely will have to rebuild almost the entire starting line-up.

Before the coaching news came out, the unfortunate news that starters Jamarcus Ellis and Armon Bassett had been kicked off the team by interim coach Dan Dakich. The two apparently missed mandatory team meetings and then didn't run the laps Dakich put on them as punishment.

That means potentially all of the regular starters from this season will be gone. Eric Gordon is expected to enter the NBA draft, D.J. White and Lance Stemler are graduating, and now Ellis and Bassett have been dismissed.

Ellis led the team in assists, Bassett led the team in three-point shooting, Gordon lead in scoring and White led in rebounding and field goal percentage.

I like hiring Crean. He put Marquette back on the basketball map and has a Final 4 appearance, although it was forgettable. The Golden Eagles lost to Kansas by 33. He is a good coach moving to an elite program, similar to Bill Self going from Illinois to Kansas. There is nothing wrong with Illini basketball, but in terms of tradition and quality, it doesn't compare to the Jayhawk program.

Crean better leave the press room tomorrow and head straight for the recruiting trail. He has a lot of work to do. Jordan Crawford is the Hoosiers' top returning scorer. He averaged 9.7 points per game last season. He's also the leading rebounder returning.

That's assuming he stays at IU.

Update: has updated its Crean story. The Indianapolis Star also has a story on the news.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Red Sox-Dodgers at the Coliseum

According to the Boston Globe, the Dodgers sold more than 115,000 tickets to the exhibition game against the Red Sox, which was played at the L.A. Coliseum. It was part of the celebration of the Dodgers' 50 years in L.A. and featured a left field fence 201 feet from home plate. The right field foul pole was 440 feet away.

The Red Sox won the game 7-4. Here is a link to the Boston Globe's photo array from the game. The L.A. Times photos are here.

The Coliseum is a football, track and Olympic facility. The attendance was impressive, but the stadium was not designed for baseball. And it was clear from the odd-ball configuration of the field that this idea should remain a novelty used during spring training. Unfortunately it doesn't work as well as playing a hockey game outside at a football stadium.

The MLB season opens on American soil in about an hour (its 7 p.m. in Fort Wayne). Here's to the games counting and the beginning of the 7-month marathon. The White Sox open Monday along with just about everyone else. They begin a 3-game series against the Cleveland Indians, followed by a 3-game series against the Detroit Tigers. Unfortunately, the Sox may end up starting 2-4 or worse, 0-6. Is April too early to be counted out of the pennant race?