Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Can someone get Calathes Matt Walsh's number?

Nick Calathes has put his name into the NBA Draft. I've mentioned before that the buzz around the program all season has been the sophomore was looking for someone to tell him what he wants to hear, and now he's going to look some more. No one is going to tell Nick he's a first rounder, because he isn't. Given his lack of athleticism, I doubt Calathes will even be drafted should he stay in. He's shown some excellent court vision and has shot the ball well at times, but the NBA wants a lot more than that. It's not like they'll buy into Calathes's intangibles, since he's struggled mightily at clutch time and has failed to lead his team to meaningful wins repeatedly late in the last two seasons. If three future lottery picks with a championship ring felt they needed a junior season to be ready for the league, why is this even a conversation? If Calathes wants to go play for pay in Greece, he should just go ahead and say that now. There is nothing he needs to talk to the NBA about.

As I'm writing this, it's not official that John Calipari is Kentucky's new basketball coach. That's probably changed by the time you're reading it, though. Calipari's a great hire for UK in a lot of ways, but some people are overreacting to the move. Memphis has reportedly been stupid enough to allow all four of Calipari's fall signees unconditional releases in their letters of intent which would make them fair game for anybody to sign if he leaves. Maybe they all want to follow Calipari to Lexington. He could add touted recruits DeMarcus Cousins and Jon Wall as well. UK had only one senior this year and has already signed players too. Even releasing all Gillispie's signees won't give Calipari room to fit his class in, much less supposed transfers who want to follow him. Run off lots of kids to make room and you screw up your APR, plus you'll still have a tremendously young team that will limit future recruiting opportunities. Keep in mind too when weighing Calipari's chances of instant success that Rick Pitino in his heyday didn't have to deal with Florida or Tennessee programs at anywhere near what they are today. Would Calipari make UK a force again? You bet, as long as they make sure he doesn't cross any NCAA lines along the way. They don't magically transform back into a 14-2 conference team every year just by him showing up, though.

I openly admit that I'm a huge coaching carousel geek. All the Calipari talk aside, Monday's big surprise news was Tony Bennett leaving Washington State for Virginia. A year ago Bennett could have had the Indiana job and was also mentioned but chose not to get involved with LSU. It's hard to see what made Virginia more appealing a year later, especially when Bennett's entire coaching career has been spent in the midwest and scenic Pullman, Washington. He played for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and does still have ties there, but it's hard to imgine he's going to pull any top kids out of NC with who he's up against. I think Bennett's a really good coach and UVA has plenty of potential with the right guy running their program, but this doesn't feel right to me.

All of a sudden every college football coach in the world has jumped on Twitter. In the last two weeks alone Mark Richt, Bill Stewart of West Virginia, and Rich Rodriguez have started sending out messages. I'm sure Urban Meyer will be soon as well. I've mentioned before that I get some amusement out of Pete Carroll's feed, especially when he's referring to OMC as a "great band". It turns out I'm not the only one, because now Ron Zook has become the latest member of Twitter. Who's the one person Zook is following on Twitter? You guessed it - Pete Carroll. If Zook was really doing the Twittering (I'm sure it'll turn out to be some SID sending out banalities) that would be absolute must read material. "Sleepingtwohoursfastisjustlikefourhours" "Itscorrectableanditsgettingbetterandbetter" - ah, good times.

Not good times at all for a lot of people in sports media, with the latest example coming from WFLA TV in Tampa. Sports anchor Dave Reynolds was let go yesterday as part of another round of cost cutting by Media General, the same folks who have also run the Tampa Tribune into the ground. The move leaves Tampa Bay's NBC affiliate with one sports person, but the company says it will have Tribune sports reporters also do TV stories. After all, those folks have lots of free time despite all the layoffs on their side, and the skills of a print reporter are virtually identical to what's needed to produce a TV story. Who isn't comfortable on camera, especially comfortable enough to look air ready as a rookie in Market 13? If that sounds stupid to you, that's because it is. If you care at all about your local TV news outlets covering sports, you'd better email the news directors and let them know. It's one of the most popular items to eliminate right now since "sports fans just watch ESPN". I must keep missing ESPN's regular nightly coverage of things like spring football practices or high school basketball playoffs.

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