Monday, June 2, 2008

Ditka versus "It's A Small World" - who wins?

This turned out to be a busier weekend for me than I had expected. Once Lewis Preston left the UF basketball staff for Penn State, which I believe he was strongly encouraged to do by the head coach, I got a tip on who the next UF assistant would be. I had the story up on Saturday night - get ready to say hello to Clemson assistant Shaka Smart. For those lacking a membership there, Gary Parrish of CBS reported it Sunday as well. Looks like a solid choice - Smart is very well regarded, while Notre Dame people were thrilled someone had taken Preston off their hands.

So, how about those SEC baseball teams, huh? Nine make the field and seven are eliminated without even making it to Monday of the first week. UF will get better as Kevin O'Sullivan upgrades the overall talent, but "2 and barbecue" at the SEC tourney and NCAAs is definitely a tough way to end the season.

Word is UF/Hawaii will be a 12:30 kickoff for Raycom in week one. Second year in a row Gator fans have been subjected to this nonsense. With this being the last year of the TV contracts, hopefully there's a change next year that prevents this from happening. No southern fanbase should have to sit in early afternoon heat in August. The game will kick off at 7:3o AM Hawaii time. I'm sure the Warriors and their fans will appreciate that. Not sure if I'll be able to do Saturday pregame shows in Gainesville for the Star 99.5 this year yet or not, but if I do get to I know starting at 8:30 AM won't be a blast either.

Orlando "has an interest in" Marreese Speights. No idea whether they'll take him or not, but enough teams will say they're interested that he's going to stay in. When a kid's eager to go, he hears what he wants to hear.

One of my core theories on athletes is the Knucklehead Postulate: People who are knuckleheads tend to remain knuckleheads. The latest evidence to support the theory: FSU basketball's Ryan Reid.

Winning a championship shouldn't ensure a coach has a job for eternity, but if this crazy crap about the Tampa Bay Lightning's new owner wanting to dump John Tortorella for Barry Melrose is true than I won't have to worry about seeing my team involved in playoff hockey again for quite a while. Tortorella didn't trade away Fredrik Modin for a handful of magic beans, nor did he fail to draft and/or develop any quality goalies in the Tampa Bay minor league system. He didn't arrange for the league to have a lockout and waste all the Lightning's post Stanley Cup momentum, and he certainly didn't ask for a salary cap that forced them to let go of quality young guys like Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko. This is a horrible move.

If you're planning an Orlando vacation this summer, have you taken the time to ask yourself, "Where would Mike Ditka want me to stay?" Maybe he'll even sing while you sit out by the pool.

1 comment:

Jeremiah said...

Pretty lousy showing for the SEC in baseball this weekend, but it wasn't unexpected. The conference has a lot of good teams, but nobody that I would consider national-championship caliber. LSU is on fire right now, much like the Rockies were last year in the majors, and they may be able to ride this momentum into the CWS, but I have a real hard time believing they have enough pitching to contain the offenses of Miami, FSU (who is averaging more points in the tournament than their football team will average this season, IMHO), or Arizona State. Anyway, good season for the SEC, and for the Gators specifically, but the overall pitching quality has to improve to make an impact in the tournament. O'Sullivan needs to gets some arms in here stat, because only Locke and Keating (barely) could be trusted at the end of the season.

It's interesting how similarly Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan handle situations. Billy has now adopted two strategies from Urban's playbook on handling motivational tactics to his underachieving team (locking them out of their facility) and handling assistant coaches who didn't fit in (letting them find comporable jobs instead of just firing them at season's end). The way both guys handled the coaching situations were 100% class and that earns them great repuations in the coaching circles, which will always enable them to find quality assistant coaches when needed.